Rene C. McPherson

Inducted 1991

Distinguished Service Citation Award 1981

Served as President of Hayes-Dana Division in Canada, leading a turnaround to profitability Elected President of Dana Corporation in 1968 and continued in that office until becoming Chairman and CEO in 1972 Shared his philosophies and expertise as Dean of Stanford Business School Rene McPherson’s leadership style led to major changes in the American corporate culture. After graduating from Harvard in 1952, McPherson joined the Dana Corporation as a sales engineer. His expertise and skills in working with people led to his becoming Vice President of the corporation’s Canadian affiliate, Hayes-Dana Limited, in 1960. A steady series of advancements carried him to the Presidency of Dana Corporation in 1968, and to the office of Chairman and CEO in 1972. It was no small coincidence that McPherson’s advancements paralleled major productivity improvements in the company. McPherson’s revolutionary approach to management was based on the belief that all employees were entitled to control their own work and to share in the company’s profits. He established policies that vested power in each of the company’s divisions, allowing managers to operate their own “mini-companies”, sharing essential decision-making and problem-solving experiences with senior corporate management. Fostering an atmosphere of open, direct communication, McPherson noted that “the only dumb question is the one not asked.”

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Class of 1991

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