Heroes of Commerce


Harold Geneen (died 1997) CEO of ITT

Financial visionary. Created the first large and successful conglomerate. He pioneered making corporations fungible, buying and selling them and managing them in the interim with a deep understanding of financial statements. Making corporations fungible also creates international managerial standards.

Morita, Akio (died 1999) Founder and CEO Sony

Pioneer of industrial commerce. Created a global corporation that pioneered in marketing, technology and style. Created a new corporation in Japan at a time when starting a corporation was impossible. Invented the learning curve that allows a giant to sell products at a low price in anticipation of lowering production costs. Elevated trust in a corporate name to a level never before or since achieved.

Louis V. Gerstner, Jr CEO IBM

Administrative genius. Took a failing major computer mainframe manufacturer and converted it into a more profitable and successful computer service corporation. Turned around a giant corporation, completely.

Sanford I. Weill; CEO Citicorp

Great visionary. Starting from a small insurance company, he merged a variety of financial companies including Commercial Credit Co., Primerica, Travelers, and Salomon Smith Barney and then in a $70 billion merger bought CitiBank. Along the way he persuaded Congress to repeal a 50 year old law that permitted him to merge an insurance company a brokerage and a bank. Having acquired Citicorp he built it into the first truly global bank.

Jeffrey Bezos; Founder and CEO of Amazon.com

Creative corporate genius. First major corporate leader to aggressively test advertising and find it wanting. Founder of the first important retail business on the internet and creator of many internet standards in marketing and data base tools.