Categotry Archives: Business

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Marge Schott

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Categories: Business, Sports

Margaret Unnewehr Schott, the former Cincinnati Reds owner who was suspended by Major League Baseball for making racial slurs, died on March 2. Cause of death was not released. She was 75.
The Cincinnati native was a lumber heiress who graduated from the Sacred Heart Academy and married wealthy industrialist Charles J. Schott in 1952. When her husband died in 1968, she inherited Schottco Corp., a holding company that included Chevrolet and Buick dealerships and interests in insurance, brick manufacturing, concrete products and landfills. Schott was the first woman to own a GM dealership in a major metro area.
She purchased shares in the Reds in 1981, and took control of the team as its general partner three years later. Schott ran the oldest professional baseball team for 15 years, and was often seen on the field with her St. Bernard, Schottzie, talking with players and fans. President Ronald Reagan honored her and 84 other female entrepreneurs with a White House reception in 1986. And the city embraced her when the Reds won the World Series in 1990.
But her tenure ended in controversy. In 1992, several former Reds executives complained that Schott used racial and ethnic slurs in referring to players and business associates. In an interview with The New York Times, she said “[Adolf] Hitler was good in the beginning, but he went too far.” A Sports Illustrated magazine article published offensive statements she made about a Japanese government official, Asian-Americans, working women and Jews. A Cincinnati Enquirer article quoted her saying she doesn’t want Reds players to wear earrings because “only fruits wear earrings.” When umpire John McSherry collapsed and died on the field during the 1996 Opening Day game, Schott expressed her disappointment in the game’s postponement by saying: “I feel cheated. This isn’t supposed to happen to us, not in Cincinnati. This is our history, our tradition, our team.”
Although she later apologized for her comments, saying, “I don’t always express myself well,” Schott was suspended from day-to-day oversight of the Reds for the 1993 season and fined $25,000. After she made a similar comment about Hitler in 1996, Schott was forced to relinquish her daily control of the Reds again. That same year, General Motors Corp. filed a complaint with the Ohio Motor Vehicle Dealers Board, accusing her of hiding cars at her estate and falsifying 57 auto sales in order to meet quotas at her Chevrolet-Geo dealership. She sold the car franchise in 1997, and sold most of her stake in the Reds to current owners Carl Lindner, William Reik and George Strike for $67 million in 1999.
Schott also had a philanthropic side. She sponsored the Reds Rally, an annual dinner auction with Reds players that raised more than $1 million for the Children’s Heart Association. She donated millions more to the Cincinnati Zoo and the Warren County Humane Association, and loaned her name to a school building at St. Ursula Academy, a lake on the Dan Beard Scout Reservation, a Boys & Girls Club and a pavilion at the Milford Spiritual Retreat.
The Reds plan to honor her memory at its home opener on April 5.
Complete Coverage from The Cincinnati Enquirer

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Jacques Francais

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Categories: Business, Musicians

With his trained eye, Jacques Pierre Francais could look at a Stradivarius and determine if it was a fake or worth millions.
A world renown dealer of classical string instruments, Francais spent 20 years collecting two violins, a viola and a cello that Antonio Stradivari had made to be played together but were sold separately. In 1971, he assembled an exhibition of antique French violins that had not been seen in public since a 1900 exposition in France. He also brokered a $4 million sale of an instrument built by Stradivari and played by cellist Emanuel Feuermann.
The French-born Francais belonged to a 200-year line of luthiers. Francais wanted to be an artist, but his father, Émile, demanded that he remain in the family business. So he apprenticed in Mirecourt and Mittenwald, the French and German centers of violin-making. During World War II, Francais served with the Free French ski troops before joining the occupation force in Vienna. Once the fighting ended, he apprenticed with violin restorer Rembert Wurlitzer and with his father.
Francais moved to New York in 1948, bearing 20 violins, four cellos and 24 bows, which he planned to sell on consignment. He later built his own company — Jacques Francais Rare Violins Inc. — where he bought, sold and maintained stringed instruments by Stradivari, Nicolo Amati and Guarneri del Gesù.
Francais died on Feb. 4 from complications of Parkinson’s disease. He was 80.

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Vera Zanardelli

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Categories: Business

Vera May Zanardelli spent most of her adult life counting people. An interviewer for the U.S. Census Bureau, Zanardelli tallied the citizens of Detroit for more than 30 years. The Pennsylvania native joined the Bureau in 1969 and became its regional director in 1977.
After retiring in 1990, Zanardelli volunteered at local libraries, read books to patients at the Henry Ford Retirement Village in Dearborn, Mich., and planned reunions for World War II veterans. She was also the executive vice president of the 11th Armored Division Association.
Zanardelli died on Feb. 3 of complications from surgery. She was 80.

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Samuel M. Rubin

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Categories: Business

The tantalizing smell of freshly made popcorn filling a movie theatre is something you can thank Sam the Popcorn Man for.
Samuel M. Rubin first saw popcorn being made in Oklahoma City around 1930. When he returned to New York, he began selling the buttery treat at concessions stands he ran at the Empire State Building, Central Park and the Westbury Music Fair on Long Island.
Although popcorn became a staple snack at movie theaters during the Great Depression, Rubin was one of the first to sell fresh popcorn inside the theatres because he thought the warm, salty smell would entice buyers. For the next 60 years, he and his partner Marty Winter provided the concession stand refreshments to the major movie chains in the New York metropolitan area, including RKO, Brandt and Loews.
Rubin was always interested in snack food. He sold pretzels at age 6 and took a job filling vending machines in movie theaters when he was 12. He developed movie-size candy bars and boxes, which could be sold for $1.50 instead of $0.35. Rubin also served in the Army during World War II, survived a murder attempt by a rival in his company and lived through an armed robbery in which the thief put a gun to his head.
Rubin died on Feb. 5. Cause of death was not released. He was 85.

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Helmut Werner

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Categories: Business

Helmut Eberhard Werner, the former chairman of Mercedes-Benz, died on Feb. 6. Cause of death was not released. He was 67.
Born in Germany, Werner earned a business degree from the University of Cologne in 1961. He held several sales positions at Englebert & Co. before learning the art of management at Uniroyal Europe and Continental Tire.
Werner moved to the Stuttgart-based Mercedes-Benz in 1987, and ran its heavy truck division for six years. When he was promoted in 1993 to run the company’s luxury automobile side, Mercedes-Benz was deeply in debt. By cutting jobs and implementing clever marketing, Werner turned the company around and built the first American Mercedes factory in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Werner left the company in 1997 and was replaced by Jurgen Hubbert. He also served as the chairman of Expo 2000 in Hanover, and sat on the boards of Alcatel Alsthom, I.B.M. Germany, J.P. Morgan Germany and BASF.

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