July 26, 2021
Lido Anthony “Lee” Iacocca October 15, 1924 – July 2, 2019
Lee Iacocca was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, to Nicola Iacocca and Antonietta Perrotta, Italian Americans from San Marco dei Cavoti, Benevento. They settled in Pennsylvania’s steel-production belt. He was said to have been christened with the unusual name “Lido” because he was conceived during his parents honeymoon in the Lido district in Venice. However, he denied this rumor in his autobiography, saying that is romantic but not true; his father went to Lido long before his marriage and was traveling with his future wife’s brother.
Iacocca became an Italian American automobile executive. He was well known for the development of the Ford Mustang and Ford Pinto cars while at the Ford Motor Company in the 1960s. Eventually, he became the president of the Ford Motor Company. However he clashed with Henry Ford II. He was fired on July 13, 1978, even though the company posted a $2 billion profit for the year.
Later in 1978 he was hired by Chrysler corporation. Lee immediately revived the Chrysler Corporation as its President and CEO of Chrysler in 1978 and Was Chairman from 1979, until his retirement at the end of 1992. He was one of the few executives to preside over the operations of two of the Big Three automakers.
Realizing that the company would go out of business if it did not receive a large infusion of cash, Iacocca approached the United States Congress in 1979 and successfully requested a loan guarantee. In order to obtain the guarantee, Chrysler was required to reduce costs and abandon some longstanding projects, such as the turbine engine, which had been ready for consumer production in 1979 after nearly 20 years of development.
Chrysler released many compact automobiles which were based on design proposals that Ford had rejected during Iacocca’s tenure. Then in the middle of the major 1980-1982 recession, Chrysler produced the small, efficient, and inexpensive front-wheel drive cars which sold rapidly. In addition, Iacocca re-introduced the big Imperial as the company’s flagship. The new model had all of the newest technologies of the time, including fully electronic fuel injection and all-digital dashboard.
Chrysler introduced the minivan, in late 1983. It led the automobile industry in sales for 25 years. Because of the K-cars and minivans, along with the reforms Iacocca implemented, the company turned around quickly and was able to repay the government-backed loans seven years earlier than expected, mostly because of Iacocca’s Leadership.
In May 1982, President Ronald Reagan appointed Iacocca to head the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, which was created to raise funds for the restoration of the Statue of Liberty and the renovation of Ellis Island. Iacocca continued to serve on the board of the foundation until his death.
Iacocca authored or co-authored several books.
Portfolio Magazine named Iacocca the 18th-greatest American CEO of all time
Did you know?
Members of Iacocca family Founded, own and Operate a small restaurant Chain, named Yocco’s Hot Dogs.
Yocco’s Hot Dogs was founded in 1922 by Theodore Iacocca, uncle of Lee Iacocca. The Company Corporate Headquarters is located in Emmaus, Pennsylvania. Yocco’s is currently run by Gary Iacocca, the third generation owner.
Yocco’s Hot Dogs is a regionally famous for their hot dog’s and cheesesteak’s. The chain consists of six restaurants, each located in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania.
The name Yocco’s was derived from the family name “Iacocca”. But because the Pennsylvania Dutch could not pronounce Iacocca correctly. They said Yocco instead, so the name was changed to reflect their pronunciation.