Ernest R. Breech

Inducted 1974

Distinguished Service Citation Award 1974

Earned a reputation as a trouble shooter for General Motor’s subsidiary companies, serving as President of North American Aviation, and President of Bendix Corporation

Restored Ford Motor Company to prominence and profitability, serving as Executive Vice President beginning in 1946 and becoming the first Chairman of the Board in 1955

His colleagues said that Ernest Breech couldn’t resist a challenge.

Trained as an accountant, Breech was serving as Controller of the Yellow Cab Manufacturing Company when it merged with General Motors. At GM, his skills as a problem solver brought advancement to positions of increasing responsibility. Breech’s GM achievements caught the attention of Ford Motor Company’s new young President, Henry Ford II. In 1946, Ford invited Breech to join Ford Motor Company, hoping that Breech could solve Ford’s problems, which were contributing to monthly losses of about $10 million. Working with Henry Ford II, Breech assembled a team of highly qualified executives, and led Ford to a $66 million profit in the following year.

Perhaps most important for the future of Ford Motor Company, Breech served as teacher and mentor to Henry Ford II, transforming an eager but inexperienced young man into a confident decision-maker and capable executive. Ford later said of Breech: “I found him to be a brilliant strategist with a tremendous competitive spirit and a dedication to match…He was also my friend.”

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Class of 1974

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