John F. Smith Jr.

John Francis "Jack" Smith Jr. (born April 6, 1938) is the non-executive chairman of the board of directors of Delta Air Lines. Smith has been a member of Delta's board of directors since 2000.

From 1996 to 2003, Smith was chairman of the board of directors of General Motors, and was that company's CEO from 1992 to 2000.

Smith was born in Worcester, Massachusetts. He joined General Motors as a payroll auditor in 1961, moving to its financial group in New York City in 1966. He went on to hold positions ranging from director of international planning to president of GM Canada, president of GM Europe and head of international operations.

As CEO of GM, he undertook one of its most sweeping reorganizations, overturning a cumbersome and inefficient structure created in the 1920s by Alfred P. Sloan and left virtually unchanged since then. Starting with purchasing in 1992 and ending with engineering in 2003, he brought together separate overlapping functions related to the various divisions that formed the company, while also expanding operations into Asia.[1] In this transformation, which included terminating the Oldsmobile brand, over 90% of core management positions were eliminated,[2] corporate decision-making became faster and easier, production efficiencies and quality improved by spreading the lean manufacturing Toyota Production System from NUMMI,[3] and, above all, the bottom line went from near-bankruptcy losses to decent profits.[4] After he relinquished the CEO position in 2000 to his personally selected successor, Rick Wagoner, he continued on as Chairman to see his plan fully executed.

Along with his chairmanship of Delta, Smith is currently a director of several other entities, including Procter & Gamble and The Nature Conservancy. Smith is a trustee of Boston University. He graduated from Saint John's High School in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts and later received his Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1960 and his Master of Business Administration from Boston University in 1965. While at the University of Massachusetts Amherst he was initiated into the Kappa Sigma Fraternity.

References

Business positions
Preceded by
John G. Smale
Chairman General Motors
1996–2003
Succeeded by
Rick Wagoner
Preceded by
Robert C. Stempel
CEO General Motors
1992–2000
Succeeded by
Rick Wagoner
Preceded by
Lloyd E. Reuss
President General Motors
1992–1998
Succeeded by
Rick Wagoner


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