Business: Away from Whimsy

In 1956, when Robert S. Ingersoll succeeded his aging father as president of Borg-Warner Corp., one of the U.S.'s biggest producers of auto parts, he found a company beset by crises. Not the least of his troubles was that Ford had just announced it would build its own automatic transmissions, lopping a neat $100 million off BW's volume. Beyond that, the organization chart was in dangerous disarray. The four companies that had merged in 1928 to form Borg-Warner continued to compete with one another headon; their four top executives rarely condescended to drop...

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