The Most Influential Executives in America

By Peak, Martha H. | Management Review, October 1990 | Go to article overview

The Most Influential Executives in America


Peak, Martha H., Management Review


The Most Influential Executives in America

Our plan? To put faces to the men and women who sit on the most boards of the biggest companies in corporate America, and list the boards on which they serve.

Our strategy? A special Management Review editorial team led by senior editor Donna Brown scrutinized the boards of the Fortune 250 companies. Under her direction, senior editorial assistant Karen Matthes and college interns Anicee Gaddis and Cynthia Trowbridge culled through annual reports, Who's Who and a mountain of press clippings.

A project like this quickly becomes an art, not a science. Inevitably, arbitrary decisions had to be made to rank the nominees and cull the list to 50 names. Biographical material was fact-checked to the extent possible while still respecting our nominees' right to privacy; thus, any information not in the public record is necessarily omitted. We also learned that it's hard to keep ahead of a group of this calibre: When we started the project, Roger Smith was still chairman of General Motors. Thus, all information is accurate up to our press deadline.

So who sits on the boards on the most powerful companies in America? It will surprise no one to learn that most--but by no means all--of the candidates on our list are white and male. Ivy League educations and age 55 and up are the norm.

The men and women that comprise this list sit on a minimum of four boards apiece, but an impressive 220 of the Fortune 250 are represented here. Four women smashed the glass ceiling to make the list, and William Coleman and Vernon Jordan head the number of black directors. The American Management Association is well represented, both by corporate as well as individual memberships. These candidates, whatever their age or complexion, are the men and women who are the most influential behind-the-scenes players in corporate America today.

CHARLES B. AMES Born: 1925 Education: Ph.B., Illinois

Wesleyan Univ., 1950; MBA

Harvard, 1954 Principal: Clayton & Dubilier

Inc. Former chairman, CEO:

Uniroyal Goodrich Tire Co. Director: AM International Inc.

          Diamond Shamrock
            R&M Inc.
          M.A. Hanna Co.
          Harris Graphics
            Corp.
          The Progressive
            Corp.
          Warner-Lambert Co.

NORMAN R. AUGUSTINE Born: 1935 Education: BSE magna cum

laude, Princeton, 1957;

MSE Princeton, 1959 Chairman, CEO: Martin

Marietta Corp., American

Management Association

corporate member Director: Ethics Resource

            Center
          Phillips Petroleum
            Co.
          Procter & Gamble
            Co.
          Riggs National Corp.

Trustee: The Johns Hopkins

Univ. Member: American

Management Association, Air Force

Scientific Advisory Board,

Defense Science Board,

Institute for Electrical &

Electronic Engineers,

International Academy of

Engineers, National Academy of

Engineers, Phi Beta Kappa,

Sigma Xi, Tau Beta Pi Fellow: American Astronautical

Society

GEORGE B. BEITZEL Born: 1928 Education: Amherst College,

1950; MBA Harvard, 1955 Director: Bankers Trust Co.

          Bitstream Inc.
          FlightSafety
            International Inc.
          IBM
          Phillips Petroleum
            Co.
          Roadway Services
            Inc.
          Rohm & Haas Co.
          Square D Co.

JAMES F. BERE Born: 1922 Education: B.S. Northwestern

Univ., 1946; MBA 1950 Chairman, CEO: Borg-Warner

Corp. Director: Abbott Laboratories

          Ameritech
          K Mart Corp.
          Temple Inland Inc.
          Time Warner Inc.
          Tribune Co.

RICHARD M. BRESSLER Born: 1930 Education: B. …

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