Marvin Travis Runyonmarvin travis runyon
Marvin Travis Runyon September 16, 1924 – May 3, 2004 was an American business executive After a long career as a manufacturing executive at Ford Motor Company, he retired, and was then was the US head of Nissan for several years He later served as chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority TVA and as US Postmaster General He was a forceful and charismatic figure who picked up the nicknames "Marvelous Marv" and "Carvin' Marvin"
- 1 Ford years
- 2 Nissan years
- 3 TVA years
- 4 Postmaster General
- 5 References
Although born in Fort Worth, Texas, he graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School Dallas, Texas in 1942 and started working for Ford at the now-closed Dallas Assembly Plant in 1943, where his father was also employed He served in the United States Army Air Forces later during 1943 to 1945 and returned to Ford After graduation from Texas A&M University in 1948 he began to climb in management, making the rounds through Ford assembly plants in Atlanta, Georgia, and Lorain, Ohio, during the 1950s
He was a plant manager during the 1960scitation neededLeading up to the opening of the Talbotville St Thomas assembly plant in 1967 he lived in London, Ontario Canada while he supervised the opening and staffing of this plant
He became an executive at the assembly operations headquarters in 1969 and became assembly division general manager in 1972 From 1973 to 1977 he was vice-president in charge of powertrain and chassis operations, then became vice president in charge of vehicle assembly and body stamping operations in 1978 When he retired at the end of 1980 it was widely rumored that he was going to head all Nissan operations in the United States, but that announcement did not come until several days after he had actually retired
In 1981 Runyon became the chief executive of Nissan North America and supervised the construction of its assembly and engine plants in Smyrna, Tennessee These plants became among the most productive in the auto industry
He was replaced by another former Ford plant manager, Jerry Benefield, when he moved on to TVA
In 1988 Runyon was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to head the Tennessee Valley Authority TVA, America's largest electric power producer, was struggling with enormous debts from its failing nuclear power program A creation of the New Deal era, TVA had also been the Congressional dumping ground for a multitude of unrelated Federal programs and projects TVA managed not only nuclear plants, but ran recreation facilities, tested electric cars, produced fertilizer, and even owned a herd of buffalo—in all, more than 186 separate business units TVA's electric rates had skyrocketed in past years to pay for uncompleted nuclear plants, and high electric rates were threatening the region's economy
Runyon, a serious-minded technical manager, believed that TVA's management had too many distractions from TVA's wide-ranging activities, so he ordered non-essential business units closed Runyon's aggressive cost cutting began with a promise to residential and commercial customers that TVA would not increase rates under his watch This pledge forced TVA management to reduce costs in order to keep electric rates stable
Although popular with homeowners and the business community, Runyon's cost cutting included massive layoffs—more than 7,000 employees were let go on one day alone The staff reductions earned him the sobriquet "Carvin Marvin" which inspired a satirical song played on local radio stations
On the other hand, the TVA Runyon left behind was much leaner, more focused, and had begun paying down its massive debt load Many experts believe TVA would not have survived without the restructuring Runyon accomplished
Runyon was appointed United States Postmaster General in 1992, at a time when the postal service was struggling with high costs and a poor reputation for service
Runyon's first goal was to treat the United States Postal Service as a business geared toward making money and pleasing customers He was a cost control expert and instituted cost measurement systems copied from his years with Ford—he even sent senior post office officials to Ford to review their systems He eliminated 23,000 management jobs, hired more letter carriers and counter employees and emphasized automation to speed mail delivery
Runyon, during his time at the USPS, often decided to distance himself from management when he traveled He normally made it a high priority to visit Postal Service craft employees letter carriers, clerks, mailhandlers, etc in their work areas It was not uncommon for him to sit alone in the coach section of an airplane, reading fiction
He stepped down in 1998, the year in which he oversaw the introduction of electronically distributed franks, and began an independent consulting business in Tennessee, which he operated until his death He also taught business at Middle Tennessee State University
In 1999, he was inducted into Woodrow Wilson High School's Hall of Fame
- Obituary from The New York Times
- Article on his appointment to TVA
- Detroit News retrospective
Anthony M Frank
|United States Postmaster General
July 6 ,1992 – May 16, 1998
William J Henderson
Post Office Department
|US Postal Service||
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