Former Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca passes away - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Former Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca passes away

Posted: Updated:

(WSIL) - Former Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca, who became a folk hero for rescuing the company in the 80s, has died at the age of 94.

Iacocca was instrumental in the creation of the Ford Mustang and the Chrysler Minivan.

Iacocca's youngest daughter confirmed he passed away of natural causes Tuesday. He is survived by two daughters and eight grandchildren.

Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on October 15, 1924, he would go on to lead two major American car companies.

Iacocca started working at Ford Motor Company in 1946, and was a major figure in the development of the Ford Mustang -- the first vehicle of its kind. He was named president of Ford in 1970, but was fired by Henry Ford Jr. in 1978.

"I began my life as the son of immigrants, and I worked my way up to the presidency of the Ford Motor Company," Iacocca wrote in his 1984 autobiography. "When I finally got there, I was on top of the world. But then fate said to me: 'Wait. We're not finished with you. Now you're going to find out what it feels like to get kicked off Mt. Everest!'"

He was then hired by Chrysler Corp. in 1978 and became the company's CEO in 1979. He is credited with saving the company from bankruptcy.

The American consumer may remember him best from a series of Chrysler TV commercials, in which he said, "If you can find a better car, buy it."

He retired from Chysler in 1992. In 1995, Iacocca sued the company accusing it of illegally preventing him from exercising stock options. Chrysler then filed suit against him, saying he gave confidential information to Kirk Kerkorian -- who tried to take over the company.

Chrysler and Iacocca settled their lawsuits in 1996.

CNN Newsource and the Associated Press contributed to this story.

Most Popular

Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2019 WSIL. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.