Avery, Sewell

Avery, Sewell (Lee)

(1874–1960) corporate executive; born in Saginaw, Mich. He joined the United States Gypsum Co. (1901), which as president (1905–37) and chairman (until 1951) he developed into a major international building materials manufacturer despite the Depression of the 1930s. His effective but autocratic tenure as chief executive officer and chairman of Montgomery Ward and Co. (1931–55) was marked by fights with executives, stockholders and directors. In a highly publicized 1944 episode, federal soldiers literally carried him from his office for noncompliance with a War Labor Board order.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.