Lee Iacocca Wants Congress to Give Auto CEOs Another Chance

Lee Iacocca, former chairman and CEO of Chrysler and former president of Ford Motor Company, released a statement today on the auto industry bridge loans.

“Running a multi-billion-dollar automobile company with thousands of employees, retirees, suppliers, dealers and communities counting on you is not for the weak of heart or for the timid or the untried,” Iacocca says. “Especially the untried.”
“Having been there, I do not agree with the sentiment now coming out of Congress that the management should be changed as a condition of granting loans to the Detroit automakers. You don’t change coaches in the middle of a game, especially when things are so volatile. The industry has been brutalized by a totally unpredictable series of events over which it had little control and that is beating it unmercifully into the ground.”
"The companies may not be perfect but the guys who are running them now are the only ones with the experience and the in-depth knowledge and understanding of how the car business really works. They’re by far the best shot we have for success. I say give them their marching orders and then let them march. They’re the right people to get the job done.”
In 1979, Chrysler, with Iacocca as CEO, received somewhere between $500 and $750 million in bailout money, approved by President Jimmy Carter. Now, 29 years later, Chrysler is requesting another bailout in the form of a loan from Congress. The question is, will it help the company last another 29 years?

Lee Iacocca Time cover

Lee Iacocca, on the March 21, 1983 cover of Time magazine.


Image via archive.