Named Chairman and CEO of General Motors Corporation in 1967, after serving as President since 1965
Successfully promoted equal opportunity employment within GM and in the American business community
James M. Roche succeeded through hard work…and paved the road to success for many Americans.
Unable to go to college because of his father’s early death, Roche worked to support his family and continued his education through correspondence school. In 1927, he went to work for General Motors as a statistician in the Chicago sales and service branch. Within a year, Roche was named assistant to the branch manager and was told to look for more efficient ways of doing business. More promotions came, each bringing more responsibilities. He became head of the Cadillac division in 1957, and 10 years later was named CEO of General Motors.
Roche distinguished himself as the conscience of the corporation. He dedicated General Motors and himself personally to ensuring equal employment opportunities for everyone, regardless of race or gender. His success in helping others fulfill the American dream was recognized with special citations from many organizations, and by 10 colleges and universities which awarded him honorary degrees.