Independence and New Directions
"I have written the book; others need only to follow it when I am gone," declared R. J. Reynolds some years before his death, when asked how the business could be maintained without him. 1 In this chapter the remaining years of Reynolds's leadership, 1912 to 1924, will be considered as a unit; leadership in subsequent years fell into the hands of men chosen or groomed by him. It seems best to consider first the position of the company in 1912, then its plan for employee participation in profits, the listing of its stock on the New York Stock Exchange, and last, its entry into the manufacture of cigarettes.
On 2 June 1911, shortly after the final appeal in the antitrust suit was decided in such a manner as to prohibit further legal quibbling by the American Tobacco Company, the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company mailed its salesmen circular S-13-C. The salesmen were told that there was nothing in the latest decision to prevent the company from continuing its business "as a separate and distinct concern under the management of the splendid organization which [had] established the business and brands." The salesmen were also informed that, to meet the growing demand for its product, the company had let a contract for the construction of a five- story factory designed to have more space than any building then owned by the organization. More, a new office building would be ready for occupancy on 1 July 1911. 2