PERSONNEL: Camels' Driver

John Clarke Whitaker, 61, likes to boast that he joined R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. at the same time as another recruit: "Old Joe," the circus camel for whom Founder Reynolds named his cigarettes. Just out of the University of North Carolina, Whitaker started as a cigarette-machine inspector in 1913, the year Camels were put on the market. He worked up through manufacturing and personnel departments to a vice-presidency in 1937. Even when he became president in 1948, he never forgot that he started out in overalls, and he kept his door wide open so that any...

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