Page 11 - Looking Back-sample-rev
P. 11

L OO K I N G B AC K 	 4 5

When he ran for president in 1964, volunteering on his campaign was
my first experience with the political process. Over the years I met Gold-
water many times and he became a good friend. Today, when I first get
to know someone I tell them straight out that I voted for Goldwater, and
if they really want to understand my political views they should read
Conscience of a Conservative.

A Harvard Education

After buying Pacific Coast Foil, Olin Mathieson wanted to put in their
own people, as most companies do. Fortunately for me the success of
the deal had caught the eye of the Kaiser people. I think they realized
they had lost in me a potential manager and hired me back. Aluminum
was beginning to replace corrugated steel in farm use, and they hired
me as general manager of the building products division, a profit center
within Kaiser at the time. We sold aluminum windows and siding for
houses as well as farm products. I had just made a lot of money and the
work didn’t seem exciting at that point, so I began to look at other pos-
sibilities within the company. It was 1965 and as it happened I was se-
lected to participate in a program whereby Kaiser sent promising young
executives to such top business schools as Harvard, MIT or Stanford to
further their business acumen. It was an honor to be selected because it
indicated that they were grooming one of us for the top job at the com-
pany. They sent me to the Harvard Business School, where I was part
of the forty-seventh Advanced Management Program, a rigorous and
intense four-month program of studies. The company paid all costs,
plus tuition, salary and bonus. Another fellow, Cornell Maier, went to
Stanford, and my intuition told me they had probably already selected
Cornell for the CEO position. Kaiser Aluminum’s top ranks are made
up of West Coast people from UCLA, USC or Stanford. It was rare that
they would seek out someone from the East Coast, thus I felt Cornell
had the inside track. In fact, he did finally become the chief executive at
Kaiser and presided over the company for about ten years before they
went bankrupt.
   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16