Wow these are some scary people to work for, some of which surprise me (though they probably shouldn’t) since they are so notable in history.
From Fast Company:
Ford used shadowy henchmen to run “secret police” who spied on employees. He had machine guns, tear gas, and a private army at the ready to deter union organizers. He cheated on his wife with his teenage personal assistant and then had the younger woman marry his chauffeur as a cover.
The man behind the Mouse was a suspicious control freak — a dictatorial boss who underpaid his workers, clashed with labor organizing efforts, made anti-Semitic smears about the other Hollywood studio heads, and wouldn’t give due recognition to Mickey’s real creator, animator Ub Iwerks, who was supposedly his oldest friend.
He also spied prodigiously for J. Edgar Hoover and cooperated with Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1960s.
Bribed his way through the oil business. Laundered money for Soviet spies. Forced his mistress to alter the way she looked to throw off his wife. Reneged on promises to support his illegitimate daughter. Forced his board members to give him signed resignation letters that he could accept if they ever dared to oppose him. Then promoted himself for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Perhaps history’s most dictatorial accountant, Geneen ran the huge ITT in the 1960s and 1970s. His method: publicly humiliating his top 120 executives every month at grueling, four-day, 14-hour-long meetings that made some of them physically ill. Geneen liked to see the pained expressions on their faces as he tore into them.
People thought Gulf & Western was predatory and acquisitive under Charles Bluhdorn, who earned it the nickname “Engulf & Devour.” But when his tough-as-nails protege Davis ascended to the top position, a visitor asked why half of the offices were empty on the top floor of the company’s Manhattan skyscraper. “Those were my enemies,” Davis said. “I got rid of them.”