Townsend, Robert (Chase)(1920– ) business executive; born in Washington, D.C. He had an early career in investment and international banking at American Express Co. (1948–62) before moving over to Avis Rent-a-Car. As president and chairman, he introduced the "We Try Harder" advertising campaign that built the firm into a major industry competitor (1962–65). He was later advisor and senior partner of Congressional Monitor (1969), and after publishing his best-selling Up the Organization (1970), he enjoyed great popularity as an advocate of reforming American business.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.