Corporations: The Rescue

In February 1962, Roger Lewis took over as president of General Dynamics, a sorely troubled company. Within a month, he flew from headquarters in Manhattan to the company's unprofitable and stubbornly independent Convair subsidiary in San Diego, where he boarded up the executive dining room, sold off the fleet of a dozen company limousines, and transferred the executive barber. Says Lewis, now 52: "That convinced them we meant business."

Under this we-mean-business management, the nation's fourth largest defense contractor (after Lockheed, Boeing and North American) is behaving like a lithe and freshly...

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