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Lee Iacocca – Life & Lessons

Lee Iacocca – Life & Lessons

Reading success stories of greatest professionals stimulates motivational enzyme within us and we all wish to emulate them on the path of success.
Exactly with this aim, we are presenting you series of success stories of Professionals who have carved niche in their own way and have become icons of Management Fraternity. 
Following above you will read today motivational story of Lee Iacocca

Lee Iacocca was one of America’s most celebrated CEOs and business leader. He was a strategist, saviour, and a straight-shooting businessman. He was known for the development of Ford Mustang & Pinto (60’s & the 70’s) cars and revival of Chrysler (80’s). 

Lee Iacocca: Personal Life

1. Born as Lido Anthony “Lee” Iacocca to Italian (immigrant) parents in October 1924 in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

2. Studied in Allentown High School (schooling), Lehigh University (degree in industrial engineering) and Princeton University (Wallace Memorial Fellowship).

3. Died at the age of 94 on 2nd July 2019.


Lee Iacocca: Career Timeline

Soon after joining Ford as an engineer, Iacocca realized the real action was in the sales & marketing area. He understood what skills were needed to excel in that field and worked hard to acquire and polish them. He flourished in his career but also saw ups and downs. 

1. 1946: Joined Ford Motor Company as an engineer

2. 1960: General Manager of Ford division

3. 1964: Mustang was introduced at New York’s World Fair

4. 1965: Vice President at Ford

5. 1967: Executive Vice President at Ford

6. 1970: President at Ford

7. 1978: Fall out with Chairman Henry Ford II

8. 1978: President and Chief Operating Officer at Chrysler Corp.

9. 1979: CEO and Chairman of Chrysler

10. 1980: Took $1.5 billion federal loan guarantees to save Chrysler

11. 1983: Repaid the entire $1.5 billion loan, seven years ahead of time. 

12. 1983: Introduced US -produced minivan Plymouth Voyager and Dodge Caravan

13. 1984: Chrysler posted $2.4 billion profit under Iacocca’s leadership

14. 1987: Chrysler acquired American Motor Corp. and Jeep brand

15. 1993: Retired from Chrysler

Lee Iacocca: Career Milestones

1. “56 for ’56” Campaign – Offered loans on 1956 model year cars with a 20% down payment and $56 in monthly payments for three years

2. Successfully established Ford Mustang, Continental Mark II, Ford Escort

3. Ford Pinto – Brought a domestically produced, small, fuel-efficient weighing less than 2000 lbs and priced less than $2000

4. The revival of Ford’s Mercury brand

5. Successful launch of K-Car line, Dodge series, and Plymouth Reliant – Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager

Lee Iacocca: Lessons Learnt 

Some of the critical lessons that management aspirants and students can learn from Iacocca’s life are:

1. Be patient 

2. Keep building your skills if you think you lack them.

3. Communicate clearly at all levels – peers, seniors, and management.

4. Listen to the customer – requirements, concerns, and aspirations.

5. Connect closely with the customer and offer what they want.

6. Build your brand and not just the product. 

7. Be a problem-solver and solution-driven.

8. Appreciate your team members.

9. Be a motivator and lead by example.

10. Be sincere and transparent with your work and all the stakeholders

11. Be a good decision-maker

12. Set short-term goals and objectives and compare your and your company’s progress

13. Keep a work-life balance

14. Have a growth mindset

15. Delegate work and be a team player

Lee Iacocca: Motivational Books





Iacocca: An Autobiography


Lee Iacocca, William Novak


Talks about his life and how he became a newsmaker, celebrity, symbol of integrity and inspiration for many Americans

Talking Straight


Lee Iacocca, N.R. Kleinfield

Iacocca offers straight forward answers to the practical scenarios for solving our nation’s economic dilemma


I Gotta Tell You: Speeches of Lee Iacocca


Lee Iacocca, Matthew W. Seeger

Includes 25 of Iacocca’s most memorable and influential speeches

Where Have All the Leaders Gone


Lee Iacocca, Catherine Whitney

Talks about various Cs required by leader - Curiosity, Creative, Communicate, Character, Courage, Conviction, Charisma, Competent, Common Sense, Crisis.


  (Source: GoodReads)

More Motivational Stories - Complete List Here

Mark Zuckerberg Philip Kotler
Peter Ferdinand Drucker Dr. Amartya Sen
Mr. Nandan Nilekani Mary Kom

Stay informed, Stay ahead and stay inspired with MBA Rendezvous