Lee Iacocca Biography & Net Worth
|Popular Name:||Lee Iacocca|
Lido Anthony Iacocca
October 15, 1924
Allentown, Pennsylvania, United States
|Age:||Died On July 2, 2019 (aged 94)|
Mary McCleary (m. 1956; died 1983)
Peggy Johnson (m. 1986; annulled 1987)
Darrien Earle (m. 1991; div. 1994)
|Net Worth:||$150 Million|
Lee Iacocca was a businessman who rose to prominence by reviving the state of auto manufacturer Chrysler Corporation which was running bankrupt when he took over as the company’s chief executive officer. Previously, he had rendered his services at the Ford Motor Company where he successfully designed many popular models of cars, with the most notable being Mercury Marquis, the Ford Mustang, Ford Escort, and Mercury Cougar. He was a brilliant staff at Ford and served to the best of his ability, to the extent that he eventually rose to the position of President. However, his ways of doing business were unconventional, and he possessed a hasty management style which bought him problems with Henry Ford II who sacked him. Though shocked at being sacked from the company where he had worked so hard for more than thirty years, he did not stay away from automobile business for a long time as he aligned with another auto company, Chrysler Corporation, which was doing very poorly in the market and facing huge losses. Ford’s loss became Chrysler’s gain as Lee engineered one of the most celebrated turnarounds in the automobile industry history of American by rescuing the struggling company and enabling it to secure profits again. For his accomplishments, Lee Iacocca was named the 18th-greatest American chief executive officer of all time by the Portfolio. More details about this individual and all of his accomplishments is available below.
Lee Iacocca’s Early Life
Lido Anthony Iacocca was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania in the United States. He was the son of Italian immigrants Nicola Iacocca and Antonietta Perrotta who ran a restaurant. His father was an incisive businessman who was also the owner of a theater and a car charter agency. Lido inherited the affection for cars from his father and also gained knowledge on running businesses.
For his education, it is said that he attended Allentown High School in Allentown and proceeded to attend Lehigh University from where he graduated with a degree in industrial engineering. He became the winner of the Wallace Memorial Fellowship which enabled him attend Princeton University where his majors were politics and plastics. He would have enlisted into the Army during the Second World War but could not, due to health reasons.
Lee Iacocca’s Career
After his graduation, Lee found employment at Ford Motors as a qualified engineer, but ultimately learnt he would perform better in the sales department. It did not take him a long time to elevate through the ranks at Ford as he was good at his job. After joining the company in 1946, he became the General Manager and Vice President by 1960. Five years later, he was made Vice President of the Truck and Car Group. In 1967, he became Ford Motors’ Executive Vice President, and found himself in the position of President three years later. He worked with the company for about three long decades and ensured that the company experienced strategic and significant developments during his times in positions of leadership.
During his years with Ford Motors, the company experienced massive growth and expansion. He contributed to the development of popular Ford cars including as the Lincoln Continental Mark III, the Ford Mustang, and the Ford Escort. He was also credited as the brain responsible for the Ford Pinto, which unfortunately had a severe design flaw.
After a series of irreconcilable disagreements with Henry Ford II, he was eventually fired in 1978. He refused to give up on his love of automobiles and soon found himself in charge of the Chrysler auto company which was facing hard times and was struggling severely. He took charge of relevant issues, made several key implementations, and completely turned the company around.
Lee retired in 1992 after making significant additions to the automobile companies he spent the years of his career working at, and spent the remaining decades he was alive focused on writing, politics, and philanthropy.
Awards & Achievements
In 1985, his outstanding works earned him the S. Roger Horchow Award for Greatest Public Service by a Private Citizen. He is considered as one of America’s greatest chief executive officers, is best remembered for rescuing the plummeting company Chrysler Corporation from bankruptcy. Under his direction and leadership, the company he helped in revitalizing not only paid off all the money it owed, but also started making profits.
The Lee Iacocca Award was established by Iacocca Family Foundation in 2006 as a prestigious award that is issued for Dedication to Excellence in Enabling An American Automotive Tradition.
Personal Life & Family
Lee was first married to Mary McCleary, and they had two children. Sadly, she died from diabetes in 1983. He found love again and got married to Peggy Johnson in 1986. However, their marriage did not last long and was annulled the very next year. He moved on to Darrien Earle who he married in 1991 and lived with until their divorce three years later.
Following the death of Mary McCleary from diabetes, Lee started to actively support the research of diabetes. He is one of the chief patrons of the research of Denise Faustman at the Massachusetts General Hospital.
After suffering complications of Parkinson’s disease, Lee Iacocca passed away on July 2, 2019, aged 94.
Lee Iacocca Net Worth
At the time of his death in July 2019, Lee Iacocca net worth was $150 million. He was a businessman and philanthropist who is remembered for his accomplishments as a chief executive officer. He was widely known as one of the first business executives who took just $1 a year in salary in barter for higher equity compensation. In 1983 he asked the Chrysler’s board to pay him only $1 in salary and give him 337,500 shares which would vest more than three years. At the time his shares were granted, they were valued at $4.2 million. Three years following the massive turnaround of Chrysler, the worth of the shares tripled and Lee’s total compensation of 1986 was $20,577,491 by the time he exercised his previously-granted shares. That’s the equivalent of earning $45 million today after adjusting for inflation,
During his days alive, one thing that Lee spent his fortune on was expensive properties. He loved homes and had a remarkable real estate portfolio as well. His 11,000 square-foot home in Los Angeles’ Bel-Air neighborhood which he purchased for $4.25 million in 1993 has been listed for $26 million by his two surviving daughters.