Blough, Roger

US Steel CEO 1959-69, battled Kennedy administration in 1962 steel price hike controversey

Price: $25.00

Description:
(1904-1985) Chairman and CEO of United States Steel Corp. May 1955-Jan. 1969, Blough helped change U.S. Steel from a sprawling holding company into an integrated operating company that became the nation's largest steel producer and the world's 2nd largest. In 1962 he locked horns with President Kennedy over a price increase by U.S. Steel Corp., amid concern for inflation and the Vietnam War. A native of Johnstown, Penna., Blough's association with US Steel began in New York during the investigation of the steel industry by the Temporary National Economic Committee in 1939 and 1940 while he was associate counsel for US Steel. During the late 40s, he was instrumental in the preparation of a plan for a massive and lengthy internal reorganization of the corporation from a sprawling holding company into an integrated operating company, with major responsibility for implementation of the program. In 1955, he succeeded Benjamin F. Fairless as Chairman of the Board & CEO. In 1962, the kennedy administration brokered an agreement between the major steel corporations, including U.S. Steel, and their labor unions. The unions would hold off on a wage increase if the steel companies would not raise prices, which Kennedy felt would cause an inflationary spiral in the economy. On April 10, 4 days after U.S. Steel signed the agreement, Blough handed Kennedy a memo saying that U.S. Steel was going to break the agreement and raise prices. Within 24 hours Kennedy launched investigations by the FTC and Justice Department into collusion and price rigging by the steel companies. He threatened to break Pentagon contracts with U.S. Steel. In a week, Attorney General Robert Kennedy began a grand jury probe and announced subpoenas for documents held by U.S. Steel. On April 12, Blough defended the price hikes in a televised news conference, but the next day rescinded the order under increasing pressure by the administration. A week later, Kennedy and Blough had a "cordial" 45-minute meeting at the White House. It was reported that Blough requested the meeting to revive strained relations between the steel industry and Washington. While chairman, Blough spoke out on issues affecting prices, the increasing role of the federal government in the collective bargaining process, the outflow of gold from the US to meet a substantial deficit in the balance of payments, the effect of the federal government's taxation & depreciation policies upon the level of corporate reinvestment, and the rate of economic growth. Upon his retirement Jan. 31, 1969, he rejoined his old law firm, White and Case in New York, continuing as a director of U.S. Steel until 1976. He helped to found the Business Roundtable, a business advocacy organization. ISP, 7 ½ x 6 ¾ neatly trimmed July 20 1959 TIME Magazine cover portrait attractively mounted on 11 x 8 cardstock with red & blue inked borders, inscribed & signed by Blough with sentiment (“Good luck with your collection of ‘Time’ covers”) and dated February 1964.

Condition: Very good
Type:Signed Portrait






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