Frederic G. Donner

Inducted 1994

Distinguished Service Citation Award 1966

Served as an officer of General Motors from 1941 until 1958, when he became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Presided over a major reorganization of GM’s Board of Directors to include more representation from outside the corporation

Expanded the GM product line with 12 new passenger cars

Frederic Donner was not as flamboyant as other automotive pioneers…but what he lacked in personal flair, he made up for in intelligence and expertise. Joining General Motors in 1926, Donner had direct links to Alfred Sloan, Charles Kettering, and the other legendary figures who built and shaped the corporation. In his first assignment as an accountant, Donner demonstrated his financial genius and understanding of complex details. He became Assistant Treasurer in 1934 and continued to advance to positions of greater responsibility, becoming Chairman and CEO in 1958. Donner’s leadership brought GM record sales and profits. He was at the helm when GM introduced the Nova, Chevelle, Firebird, Century, Riviera, Camaro, LeMans, Cutlass, and Eldorado. Of himself he modestly noted, “I’m sorry I can’t give you anything exciting, but that’s the way life is sometimes.”

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