Rock River Valley Chapter Studebaker Drivers Club
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   Home      Automotive Legends (people)      Paul G. Hoffman

Paul Gray Hoffman - 26 April 1891 – 8 October 1974, was an American automobile company executive, statesman and global development aid administrator.

Hoffman was born in Western Springs, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.  He quit college at 18 to sell Studebaker cars in Los Angeles, had made his first million dollars by the age of 34 and became vice president of Studebaker sales in 1925, ten years later he would become president of Studebaker. Hoffman and Harold Vance were the two executives most responsible for rescuing Studebaker from insolvency in the 30’s.

From 1935 to 1948, Hoffman served as president of Studebaker.  He took a leave of absence from Studebaker to administer the Marshall Plan, an aid program to Europe following World War II.  From 1950 to 1953, he served as the president of the Ford Foundation.

Returning to Studebaker in 1953, Hoffman was chairman of the corporation during the turbulent period leading up to and during the 1954 merger with the Packard Motor Car Company.  When Studebaker-Packard found itself nearing insolvency in 1956, the company entered into an Eisenhower Administration brokered management agreement with Curtiss-Wright.  Hoffman, Vance and S-P president James Nance all left the company.

Hoffman was then a delegate to the United Nations from 1956 to 1957, and managing director of the UN Special Fund (later called the UN Development Program) from 1959 to 1972.

On June 21, 1974, Mr. Hoffman was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Nixon.

Along with Harold Vance, Hoffman became the savior of Studebaker during the period of Studebaker's receivership, and then again when they responded with the 1939 Champion design, but they where also often times guilty of poor management when it came to dealing with Studebaker's union work force (labor cost containment) which was just one of many factors that lead to the Packard (merger/acquisition).  This was not to imply that Packard was responsible for the final collapse of Studebaker, in fact many would agree that Packard was really a victim of this relationship.