Paul W. Litchfield
As Goodyear president, Paul W. Litchfield achieved what was, in 1940, an enormous net profit of more than $10 million. Moreover, he had built company revenues to over $200 million.
With Litchfield steering Goodyear, it embarked on R&D of fighter and commercial aircraft parts. This led it to become one of the 10 biggest aircraft industry producers of World War II.
Paul W. Litchfield – Technical Skills, Management Savvy
Frank Seiberling launched the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in 1898. Although bearing the name of Charles Goodyear, it was never connected with the inventor of vulcanized rubber or any of his family. When Paul W. Litchfield held concurrent posts as vice president and factory manager, he designed the first pneumatic wheels for New York City’s busses on Fifth Avenue. The year was 1899.
His creative efforts at the turn of the century led him to explore and develop new sources of raw materials because he wanted only the best. When he needed strong fabric for a new tire he designed, he wanted it woven only from long cotton staple.
Litchfield discovered that the part of America where climatic and soil conditions mimicked those of the Nile Valley in Egypt was Southern Arizona, so he sourced his cotton from there.
By 1916, the company had acquired two undeveloped tracts of desert land: 16,000 acres by the Agua Fria River and 8,000 in Chandler. Resources were pulled in (tractors, mules, and manpower) and the company created a subsidiary, the Southwest Cotton Company.
The meticulous tire-builder had worked himself up to the presidency by 1926. And Litchfield oversaw its growth until 1940.
Today, Goodyear, with revenues hitting $19.7 billion in 2005, is third only to Michelin and Bridgestone Firestone as a worldwide tire and rubber leader. Aside from making parts for cars, planes, and heavy equipment, it also makes them for shoes and even electric printers.
The Paul W. Litchfield Quick Bio
Full Name: Paul W. Litchfield
Birthplace: Massachusetts Company: Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
Industry: Automotive and Aerospace
Key Success Traits: Attention to detail; creativity; willingness to invest in quality.
Litchfield advocated the planning of daily decisions and actions because, he stated, it gives a man a fixed purpose.