Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Paul Thayer, former CEO of LTV, passed away last week. Obits here and here. LTV was the iconic conglomerate of the 1950s and the Go-Go 1960s. LTV was put together by Jimmy Ling, one of the biggest characters of the conglomerate era. He amassed a slew of mismatched corporate entities under the LTV umbrella. By 1969 its 33 different divisions spanned the gamut from meatballs, golfballs to goofballs. It was an eclectic mix with almost no synergies, unless you think that food service, sports equipment and aerospace go together. In 1970 Jimmy Ling was ousted by the LTV board and replaced by Paul Thayer, who was president of the Vought division of LTV (the "V" in LTV). He may have been one of the first to recognize that the conglomerate was a business model without a future. Thayer spent the next 12 years shedding non-core assets and focusing LTV into a profitable operating company. In doing so Thayer helped usher in the LBO boom of the 1980s. He's worth remembering.