Lee Iacocca was an American businessman and automobile executive best known for his work with Ford and Chrysler. Iacocca was reportedly the driving force behind the Ford Mustang and later became the CEO who saved Chrysler in the early 1980s. Iacocca also published two books titled “Iacocca: An Autobiography”(1988) with N.R. Kleinfield, and “Where Have All the Leaders Gone?” (2007) with Catherine Whitney. Over the span of his life, which lasted a long 94 years, Iacocca’s career made him a very wealthy man.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Lee Iacocca’s Net Worth is $100 Million
“Lee Iaccoca was more than the guy who saved Chrysler, when he was at Ford he made the Mustang. He made a difference changing America,” John Ondo said on Twitter.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Iacocca had a net worth of $100 million dollars, accrued during his successful career as an auto industry legend.
the Iacocca Family Foundation website Lee became known as the “Father of the Mustang” for the production of the 1964 Mustang. He was later made President of Ford on December 10, 1970.
Less than 10 years later, Iacocca went on to Chrysler and successfully climbed to the position of CEO, however, at the time, the company was facing bankruptcy. Lee reportedly appealed to the federal government for aid, and paid them off seven years early, making a profit of $350 million to the U.S. government.
2. Lee Was Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania
the Iacocca Family Foundation website, Lee Iacocca was born Lido Anthony Iacocca in Allentown, Pennsylvania on October 15, 1924, to two Italian immigrants, Nicola and Antonietta.
In 1945, Lee graduated from LeHigh University with a degree in Industrial Engineering. One year later, Lee went on to receive a master’s degree in engineering from Princeton University.
After Princeton, Lee was quickly hired as an engineer by the Ford Motor Company, however, he proved that he had a knack for sales instead. Subsequently, what he went on to do in the motor industry has inspired many.
“This Lee Iaccoca ‘cab forward’ ad is one of the first ads I remember seeing, and one of the first things that made me think about product design. Also it is super weird now,” Editor-in-chief of The Verge Nilay Patel wrote on Twitter.
3. He Was a Salesman & Appeared in Chrysler Commercials
In addition to becoming a very successful salesman in the motor industry, Iacocca became a household name by starring in Chrysler’s television commercials. He was known for pointing a finger at viewers and delivering a very specific sales pitch: “If you can find a better car, buy it.”
The New York Times reported that was a television celebrity, one of the best-known faces, with a balding pate, a fleshy nose, mischievous eyes behind half-rim glasses, thin lips chomping an imported cigar, and a bland political smile that “gave away nothing.”
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Lee Iacocca was famous for being one of the first CEOs to take just $1 a year in salary in exchange for higher equity compensation. For example, in 1986, his salary was $1 but his total compensation was $20.6 million.
4. Lee Iococa Died on July 2, 2019
Iacocca retired in 1992 and during that time he focused on writing, philanthropy, and politics, Celebrity Net Worth says
According to a family spokeswoman, Iacocca passed away at his Bel-Air home in Los Angeles from complications of Parkinson’s disease on Tuesday, July 2, 2019.
“R.I.P Anthony Lee Iaccoca, thanks for the @FordMustang and for being a legend in the auto industry,” Salva Alvarenga wrote on Twitter.
5. Lee Had a Wife Who Died & Left Behind Two Daughters
According to the Iacocca Family Foundation website, Lee met the “love of his life,” Mary McCleary, in 1948. She worked at the Ford Motor Company’s Philadelphia office as a receptionist. Shortly thereafter, when she was a young 23-year-old woman, Mary was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The couple dated for eight years before tying the knot on September 29, 1956 and made a home in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Mary passed away in 1983.
Lee reportedly started the Iacocca Family Foundation in honor of Mary. Lee and Mary had two daughters. Kathryn Iacocca Hentz, who is president of the foundation and Lia Iacocca Assad, who is a board member.
Lee once reflected on how he wasn’t sure about the amount of money he should leave for his children when he passes.
“If you left your children a billion dollars, they wouldn’t be able to handle it,” Lee told Fortune Magazine. “People say I’ve left my two daughters too much. They do have trust funds, but not big ones. They won’t be worrying like the Ford family about which hunting lodge or English castle to buy next. When I’m dead, they may screw up, but they’ll still be able to lead a good life.”