McNamara, Robert (Strange)(1916– ) businessman, public official; born in San Francisco. After air force service during World War II, he joined the Ford Motor Company, becoming its president in 1960. As secretary of defense (1961–67), he introduced private industry's cost-efficiency techniques to the Pentagon. He was also a principal spokesman for the Kennedy and Johnson administrations' policies in Vietnam, although he eventually resigned when he lost heart for President Johnson's pursuit of the war. As president of the World Bank (1968–81), he championed support for developing countries.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.