Alfred P. Sloan, Jr.
Though he started his career at a roller bearing manufacturer, Sloan eventually sold the company to GM after realizing that the rapid growth of the automobile industry was essentially controlling his business. Sloan’s attention to efficiency spurred his development of a new corporate structure at GM, one that gave each divisional manager more autonomy and allowed the larger conglomerate to function more smoothly. By the time Sloan left the presidency to become chairman of the board, GM’s earnings had grown to over $460 million.

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