ITT had over profit centres and employed half a million people in 4 continents. ITT also became known as the Geneen University for his consistent delivery of positive commercial results. This was the first book I ever read on management while I was an electronic engineering student back in the early s, and had no exposure to management. Nevertheless, the advice and insights have never left me and there were principles avowed in this book that I have committed most of my career to.
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Business Harold S. Gilpin See the article in its original context from November 23, , Section 1, Page 45 Buy Reprints View on timesmachine TimesMachine is an exclusive benefit for home delivery and digital subscribers.
Harold S. He was An accountant by training, during his life Mr. Geneen was compared to Gen. George S. Patton, Alexander the Great and Napoleon. He was called a great leader but was also a corporate autocrat who treated foreign governments like subsidiaries.
He was a man, some said, who would have bought up the world if given the chance. As it was, he made the most of the opportunities that were provided. Over the next two decades, Mr.
Geneen transformed ITT, virtually inventing the international conglomerate. He did it by buying companies. All sorts of companies. Among other things, the companies he bought -- some in 80 countries -- baked bread, rented cars, built houses, made grass seed, wrote insurance policies, rented billboards and ran hotels. Along the way, Mr. Geneen maintained that the contribution was legal under Chilean and American law and had not been used to support any irregular or violent action.
Geneen left the company. In its sweep, Mr. Before shareholder revolts were common, there was shareholder dissension at ITT, and the allegations about interference in Chile made ITT board meetings a magnet for demonstrations. But nothing shook Mr. His diversification strategy was one that other American business moguls, including Charles Bludhorn, the man who transformed what was once Gulf and Western, and J. Peter Grace Jr. But Mr. Geneen, who was born in Bournemouth, England, and came to the United States when he was a year old, was there before anyone else.
Geneen acquired. Confrontations, which were inevitable in such a system, were tolerable as long as all facts were made available. And as the man at the top, Mr. Geneen, the prototypical workaholic, made sure he had all the facts. He worked 70 to 80 hours a week when he ran ITT and was a man who always needed to know everything. More than managers were required to furnish him with weekly reports and more detailed filings every month. A month before he retired, reports totaling 2, pages poured into his office.
He read them all. Araskog said Mr. Araskog said. Geneen got his first job, at the New York Stock Exchange, when he was Before joining ITT, Mr. Geneen worked for several years as an accountant at the firm of Lybrand Ross Brothers and Montgomery. And he did not sink into a soft retirement after he left ITT. From an office in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan, he continued to buy and sell companies and remained active in business until his death.
In , he boasted in another article in The Times that his post-retirement deal-making had earned him far more than he ever made at ITT. He also continued to serve as chairman and director of four companies and was a board member on three others. Although work was an all-abiding passion, Mr.
Geneen did make some time for hobbies. The death of Mr. Geneen, who is survived by his wife, the former June Hjelm, comes less than two weeks after ITT shareholders approved a takeover proposal that by early next year will eliminate it as an independent entity.
The shareholder vote came at the end of a bitter month struggle with the Hilton Hotels Corporation, which at the end of January began a hostile takeover of ITT.
In an interview a few weeks ago, Mr. Araskog said he thought Mr. Geneen would have approved of the deal but would have liked it better had ITT been acquiring Starwood. Subsequent to that interview, but before the vote, Mr. Geneen telephoned Mr. Araskog said yesterday.
Harold S. Geneen, 87, Dies; Nurtured ITT