Marvin T. Runyon
Second Lieutenant, United States Army
T. Runyon (September 16 1924–May 3 2004) was an American business executive.
After a long career as a manufacturing executive at Ford Motor Company,
he retired, then was the U.S. head of Nissan for several years. He later
served as chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority and as U.S. Postmaster
He was a forceful and charismatic figure who picked up the nicknames "Marvelous Marv" and "Carvin' Marvin."
He was born in Fort Worth, Texas and started working for Ford at the now-closed Dallas Assembly Plant in 1943, where his father was also employed. He served in the U.S. Army Air Force later during 1943 to 1945 and returned to Ford. After graduation from Texas A&M University in 1948 he began to climb in management, making the rounds through Ford assembly plants in Atlanta, Georgia and Lorain, Ohio during the 1950s. He was a plant manager during the 1960s.
He became an executive at the assembly operations headquarters in 1969 and became assembly division general manager in 1972. From 1973 to 1977 he was vice-president in charge of powertrain and chassis operations, then became vice president in charge of vehicle assembly and body stamping operations in 1978. When he retired at the end of 1980 it was widely rumored that he was going to head all Nissan operations in the United States, but that announcement did not come until several days after he had actually retired.
In 1981 Runyon became the chief executive of
Nissan North America and supervised the construction of its assembly and
engine plants in Smyrna, Tennessee. These plants became among the most
productive in the auto industry.
In 1988 Runyon was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to head the Tennessee Valley Authority. While there he reduced costs by 30%.
Runyon was appointed United States Postmaster General in 1992, at a time when the postal service was struggling with high costs and a poor reputation for service. Runyon's first goal was to treat the United States Postal Service as a business geared toward making money and pleasing customers. He was a cost control expert and instituted cost measurement systems copied from his years with Ford -- he even sent senior post office officials to Ford to review their systems. He eliminated 23,000 management jobs, hired more letter carriers and counter employees and emphasized automation to speed mail delivery.
He stepped down in 1998, and began an independent
consulting business in Tennessee, which he operated until his death. He
also taught business at Middle Tennessee State University.
From 1980 to 1988 Runyon was president and chief executive officer of Nissan Motor Manufacturing Corporation, USA, in Smyrna, where he oversaw the start-up of Nissan's first U.S. manufacturing facility. His tenure at Nissan was preceded by a 37-year career at Ford Motor Company.
A U.S. Air Force veteran and a graduate of
Texas A&M, Runyon was active in many civic and business organizations.
He served on the board of directors of Triad Hospitals and Rpost and was
the chairman of the Foundation for the Society of International Business
Fellows. He was the incoming chairman of Alive Hospice in Nashville, is
on the board of trustees for Centennial Medical Center, and was chairman
of the board of Leadership Middle Tennessee. Runyon was also chairholder
of the Robert E. and Georgianna West Russell Chair of Manufacturing Excellence
at Middle Tennessee State University.
WHEREAS, The Senate of the State of Texas joins the citizens of Nashville and citizens across the country in mourning the loss of Marvin T. Runyon, our nation's 70th postmaster general, who died May 3, 2004, at the age of 79; and
WHEREAS, Marvin Runyon was postmaster general from 1992 to 1998 and was noted for bringing new dimensions to the United States Postal Service in order to better meet the challenges of business in the 21st century; he laid the groundwork for the postal service's success today by instituting numerous service improvements and spearheading a financial revitalization of the organization; and
WHEREAS, A Dallas native, he was a United States Army Air Corps veteran and was a Texas A&M University graduate; he served as a board member of the university's Nucleus Fund Committee and International Programs Resource Development Committee; and
WHEREAS, Mr. Runyon had long held a reputation as a direct and fair man who had built a strong pattern of success throughout his working life; before joining the postal service, he had a distinguished 45-year career in the private sector and served as head of the Tennessee Valley Authority; and
WHEREAS, After a 37-year career with Ford Motor Company, he became president and chief executive officer of Nissan Motor Manufacturing Corporation U.S.A. and helped build the company's first American operations, in Smyrna, Tennessee; and
WHEREAS, He left Nissan in 1988 to become chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority in Knoxville, where he reduced the utility company's overhead costs and stabilized rates to earn the organization the reputation as one of the most effective federal agencies; and
WHEREAS, Marvin Runyon accepted leadership positions in numerous civic and professional organizations throughout his life, and he received many well-deserved honors and awards for his public service and his contributions to industry; and
WHEREAS, A devoted husband and father, Marvin Runyon lived a full life, and he leaves behind memories that will be treasured forever by his family and many friends; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the Senate of the State of Texas,
78th Legislature, 4th Called Session, hereby extend sincere
RESOLVED, That a copy of this Resolution be
prepared for the members of his family as an expression of deepest sympathy
from the Texas Senate, and that when the Senate adjourns this day, it do
so in memory of Marvin Runyon.
RUNYON, MARVIN T
2LT US ARMY
WORLD WAR II
DATE OF BIRTH: 09/16/1924
DATE OF DEATH: 05/02/2004
BURIED AT: SECTION 46 SITE 742
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Posted: 7 May 2006