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Charles Franklin Kettering grew up on an Ohio farm, strained his eyes reading in bad light, had to get a friend to do his reading for him while he was studying at Ohio State. After working at National Cash Register, Mr. Kettering and Edward Andrew Deeds started Dayton Engineering Laboratories Co., sold Delco lighting plants to U. S. farmers. His best known inventionthe self-starter for motorcars was developed for Henry M. Leland, onetime head of Cadillac. General Motors got Mr. Kettering when they got Delco and Mr. Kettering is now head of General Motors Research Division. One of his inventions is a gadget for opening bedroom windows without getting out of bed.
Mr. Kettering prefaces many of his observations with the words "Say" or "Listen." He likes aphorisms, posts his office walls with signs such as: "A man must have a certain amount of intelligent ignorance to get anywhere," and: "Nothing is so conducive to thought as the sheriff," is deeply interested in why grass is green. Last year Mr. Kettering made $140,495.
Top finance man at Motors is Donaldson Brown, who went to work for E. I. du Pont de Nemours in 1908, married Greta du Pont Barksdale in 1916, became du Pont treasurer in 1918. In 1921, with the du Ponts active in General Motors affairs, he moved over to the G. M. treasury as vice president in charge of finance. One of Mr. Brown's ancestors arrived in America with Captain John Smith. Last year General Motors paid Mr. Brown $134,688.
Big, Irish-looking, Cleveland-born James David Mooney is head of General Motors foreign sales and manufacturing, might rate as the most-traveled U. S. citizen. He once went from New York to London to Paris to Marseille to Port Said to Bombay to Madras to Singapore to Batavia to Singapore to Hongkong to Shanghai to Kobe to Osaka to Honolulu to San Francisco between Dec. 6 and March 5. In 1931 President Masaryk of Czechoslovakia conferred upon him the Order of the White Lion. He detests high tariffs, and while Herbert Hoover was President Mr. Mooney was urging the building up of Russian-U. S. trade. Last year he received $118,306.
Lawrence P. Fisher, vice president of General Motors, is one of the seven famed Fisher Body Brothers. Husky Mr. Fisher, a blacksmith's son, is himself a skilled blacksmith. His art collection includes Romney's portrait of the Duchess of Sutherland. Last year Mr. Fisher drew $125,219.
Richard H. Grant is the G. M. salesman. At 35 he was sales manager for National Cash Register, under John H. Patterson, father of high-pressure selling. Next he sold Delco home-lighting units to U. S. farmers. After General Motors acquired the Delco Company, Frigidaire was combined with Delco and Mr. Grant added the iceless icebox to his sales triumphs. In 1924 he became Chevrolet sales manager, did for Chevrolet sales what Mr. Knudsen did for Chevrolet production. Since 1934 he has been vice president in charge of sales for the entire General Motors line.
Small, wiry, compensating for his lack of stature with tremendous energy and wholehearted devotion to salesmanship, Mr. Grant can exhort a sales meeting with an eloquence that makes salesmen laugh, cry and sell. He once told a pipe-smoking salesman that the pipe was costing General Motors $5,000 a year in lost sales energy. Last year Mr. Grant received $98,003.