Geneen, Harold

Geneen, Harold (Sydney)

(1910–  ) communications executive; born in Bournemouth, England. He emigrated to the U.S.A. with his parents in infancy. A New York University graduate in accounting, he worked from 1934 to 1956 for various accounting and manufacturing companies. As a Raytheon executive (1956–59) he developed the management structure for which he was later famous, which featured semiautonomous divisions subject to strong central fiscal controls and strict accountability. As president (1959–72) and CEO (1959) of International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT), he introduced the same now-legendary accounting structure while presiding over ITT's transformation into one of the largest conglomerates in the world by means of some 350 mergers and acquisitions in 60 countries. His major acquisition, Hartford Fire Insurance Co. (1970), prompted a Justice Department antitrust suit, and under his watch ITT was also investigated for tax fraud and securities manipulation. He was also linked with the CIA's interference in the reelection of Chilean president Allende.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.