Background and Training of R. J. Reynolds
The R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company lives under the shadow of its founder from his bright-eyed portrait in the boardroom to his initials on posters in factory Number 8, warning lovers of the quid to restrain the functioning of their salivary glands. So great an influence has been exerted over the company by the vigorous and remarkable talents of its founder that his painting dominated the boardroom for forty-one years before any of his successors could summon the courage to hang the portraits of others on the same walls. In the expansion of the company his reputation has grown, taking "stature from the corporation" as it has grown in importance to overshadow the men who now manage it. 1 He was the expert who passed on formulas, planned buildings, influenced the location of railroads, set production figures, borrowed capital, and supervised the company's activities, all without the aid of engineering experts, survey makers, cost accountants, market analysts, personnel officers, public relations experts, or any other of the management specialists so commonly used in modern corporations.
Yet in many ways he did not resemble the typical nineteenth century industrial leader who relied chiefly on his own judgment. He readily accepted expert advice on such practical matters as advertising, traffic problems, new methods and machinery for manufacture, the erection of improved buildings, and even the feeble beginnings of a research department. Certainly he evidenced many characteristics of the modern corporate statesman and showed little or no interest in building up family dynastic power. Rather, he freely used his own funds to help many who wished to better themselves financially. It is, therefore, not an idle specu