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Billy, Alfred, and General Motors by William Pelfrey

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CHAPTER TWELVE

The Founder’s Grip Slips Again

While Billy Procee Ded with grander dreams, the automobile industry and the nation remained more fascinated with Ford Motor and its founder than with General Motors and the wizard from Flint. The drama unfolding at General Motors during the crucial period of 1916–1920 was a footnote to what was happening in Henry Ford’s life and his company. More important for the future, the way Ford captivated the public during this period was a stark contrast to the way the fundamental business issues of corporate governance and organizational structure were coming to the fore at General Motors.

The country was enthralled with Ford’s every word and act, and with reason. While total U.S. car sales more than doubled ...

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