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Becky: Hi everyone, and welcome back to EnglishClass101.com. This is Culture Class, Season 3, Lesson 9 - The Top performing 5 CEOs in Energy and Manufacturing History. I’m Becky.
Eric: And I’m Eric. It’s so nice to have you with us for this lesson!
Becky: Indeed it is! This lesson is about CEOs in the manufacturing industry. The CEO is one of the most important people in a company.
Eric: So, let’s get to it!
Becky: Okay! Number 5 in our Top 5 CEOs in Energy and Manufacturing History is Richard D. Kinder.
Eric: Kinder currently works at Kinder Morgan Energy Partner, which is a company that specializes in oil and gas pipelines.
Becky: Kinder is noted for taking a different track in life to become CEO. At first he worked as a real estate investor...and then went bankrupt.
Eric: Then he started working for Enron, which also went bankrupt after it was revealed it was committing billions of dollars worth of fraud.
Becky: Kinder had left Enron five years before it folded to start his own company, Kinder Morgan. In fact, he started this company by buying Enron’s oil pipeline service.
Eric: Now, even though his degrees are in law and not business or energy, he owns and works at a large energy business.
Becky: Currently, Richard Kinder’s net worth is about $10 billion, which makes him about the fortieth richest person in the USA.
Eric: This brings us to our next CEO, C. John Wilder.
Becky: That’s right! Number 4 of our Top 5 CEOs in Energy and Manufacturing History is C. John Wilder.
Eric: Wilder is a more classic example of a CEO. He earned his Bachelor's and Master’s degrees in business administration.
Becky: He worked at Royal Dutch Shell for nearly 20 years and was the CEO. However, he’s considered a leading CEO for other reasons.
Eric: That's right. Wilder is credited with the largest leveraged buyout in history. A leveraged buyout is when the controlling stock of one company is bought with money that comes from a loan.
Becky: He has negotiated several of these buyouts, but the largest one was worth over $32 billion dollars.
Eric: Wow, that’s a lot of money.
Becky: Indeed. Now, he owns his own company and does these kinds of leveraged buyouts frequently.
Eric: It’s always a good idea to specialize in what you’re good at!
Becky: It sure is! That brings us to our next CEO, John D. Rockefeller.
Eric: Number 3 of our Top 5 CEOs is John D. Rockefeller.
Becky: Rockefeller is a controversial figure for many reasons. First, he was the richest man in history with his total net worth averaging at just under $300 billion in today’s dollars.
Eric: He was also renowned for his tremendous and frequent donations to charities, individuals, and public projects.
Becky: However, he was able to earn that much because he had monopolized the oil industry.
Eric: That’s right. It’s illegal to purposefully monopolize any industry in the USA. Eventually they were sued under anti-trust laws, meaning the laws against creating a monopoly, and the company was broken up into smaller ones.
Becky: But, they owned most of the stock in these new companies. So they were still a huge company with enormous control over the oil industry.
Eric: So who’s next on our list?
Becky: Number 2 in our top 5 CEOs is J.P. Morgan.
Eric: JP Morgan owned hundreds of companies and became fantastically rich. Just how rich? In 1893, the economy was doing poorly. Investors were worried that the bad economy would get even worse and cashed in their stocks. This is known as a run on the bank.
Becky: Suddenly the US Treasury was running out of gold and bond prices were plummeting. It was called the Great Panic of 1893. JP Morgan bought $65 million worth of government bonds and flooded the US treasury with gold and silver.
Eric: And my favorite part? He did that twice.
Becky: Right. In 1907, during the creatively named Panic of 1907, JP Morgan organized a coalition of bankers to loan money to the US treasury again. One of those bankers, by the way was our very own Rockefeller.
Eric: That’s right. Now technically, JP Morgan was more of a banker than an energy and manufacturing CEO, but he got his start in manufacturing with the United States Steel company.
Becky: That’s right. JP Morgan had been working as a financier for many years, but when the opportunity arose to be involved in the creation of US Steel, he organized everything.
Eric: And with that he created one of the largest companies in the world at the time and set up US Steel to compete with Great Britain and Germany in the international markets.
Becky: He later used the wealth generated from US Steel to further his financing business and become fantastically wealthy.
Eric: Much of American business focuses on efficiency, and profit is derived from Morgan’s approach to business. And now we’re at our number 1.
Becky: Our number 1 in our Top 5 CEOs in Energy and Manufacturing History is Henry Ford.
Eric: Henry Ford wasn’t just an incredible executive, he was also an amazing innovator. He is considered the father of the modern moving assembly line and was one of the first to focus sales around the middle class.
Becky: That’s right. In 1924, the Ford Model T cost just $260. It was the first automobile that was affordable for the general public.
Eric: Until that time, cars were restricted to the upper class and businesses. The Model T, made on his assembly line, changed everything.
Becky: Ford was also an innovator in that he paid his employees well, better than anyone at the time.
Eric: This meant that his workers were happy and stayed at the company longer. This meant that they became very skilled and that the company didn’t have to find and train new employees often, which is expensive. So production became more efficient and profits went up.
Becky: And as far as being a great executive, he started his company with less than $30,000 dollars. In less than a decade, the Model T was the number 1 car in the USA.
Eric: Here’s a bit of trivia. A customer is walking around the Ford dealership and notices all the cars are black. He goes up to Ford and asks, “Do you have any other colors. Maybe a dark green or something.” Ford responds, “You can have it in any color you like, so long as it’s black.”
Becky: That’s a funny quote, but it’s not really a trivia question.
Eric: Actually the trivia part of it is that nobody knows if Ford actually said it. And there actually were Ford cars in different colors, but only very few.
Becky: Thank you for that. Now that you’ve put our audience to sleep, that’s all for this lesson. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next time!
Eric: Bye!