Lee Iacocca, Auto Industry Icon, Is Gone at Age 94
He saved Chrysler, helped create the Ford mustang — and was appointed by Ronald Reagan to restore the Statue of Liberty
He was an auto industry legend like few others.
Pennsylvania-born Lee Iacocca, once one of this country’s top business executives — and a man credited with rescuing Chrysler from near-bankruptcy in the 1980s — passed away on Tuesday, his youngest daughter confirmed and multiple outlets are reporting on Tuesday evening.
He was 94.
The cause was complications from Parkinson’s Disease, according to The Washington Post.
Iacocca was instrumental in creating both the Ford Mustang and the Chrysler Minivan.
“Apply yourself. Get all the education you can, but then, by God, do something. Don't just stand there, make it happen.” — Lee Iococca https://t.co/ByfQ6GCCE8
— Mattias Gugel (@mattiasgugel) July 3, 2019
Lee Iacocca, an automotive executive known for the development of the Ford Mustang and Pinto, has died at the age of 94. https://t.co/5ir3NBo8Oq
— WXYZ Detroit (@wxyzdetroit) July 3, 2019
— Stephen Cooper (@Stephen__Cooper) July 3, 2019
Lee Iacocca is dead. And this obituary for him is really good. https://t.co/ydDug9gmfb
— Matt Pearce 🦅 (@mattdpearce) July 3, 2019
Iacocca is survived by two daughters and eight grandchildren, Fox 8 Cleveland noted.
Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on Oct. 15, 1924, Iacocca began his career at Ford Motor Company in 1946 — and was a major figure in the development of the Ford Mustang, the first car of its kind.
In 1970 he was named president of Ford — but just eight short years later, Henry Ford Jr. canned him.
“I began my life as the son of immigrants, and I worked my way up to the presidency of the Ford Motor Company,” Iacocca detailed in his 1984 autobiography.
“When I finally got there, I was on top of the world. But then fate said to me: ‘Wait. We’re not finished with you. Now you’re going to find out what it feels like to get kicked off Mt. Everest!’”
RIP Lee Iococca. "Lead, follow, or get out of the way" may be the single best piece of business/political advice ever.
— Rob Sisson (@Rob_Sisson) July 3, 2019
RIP Lee Iococca, a true legend of the industry. https://t.co/NUFjeKXW7d
— Two Rivers Ford (@TwoRiversFord) July 3, 2019
BREAKING: Former Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca, who became a folk hero for rescuing the company in the '80s, has died. He was 94. https://t.co/uCGmlHJWbB
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 3, 2019
Chrysler Corporation then hired him in 1978 — and one year later, he was appointed CEO. He is credited with rescuing the company from bankruptcy and convinced Congress to approve a bailout to help achieve that.
In the 1980s President Ronald Reagan appointed Iacocca as chair of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Centennial Commission — which raised money to restore the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
Iacocca retired from Chrysler in 1992 — but he and the company weren’t done with each other. In the mid 1990s each filed suit against the other — suits they later settled in 1996.
He was a graduate of Princeton University.
Some of his best-known quotes are the following:
- “Management is nothing more than motivating other people.”
- “You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.”
- “The only rock I know that stays steady, the only institution I know that works, is the family.”
This article has been updated.