Ernest R. Breech: Award-Winning CPA and Corporate Financial Troubleshooter
Posted: 30 May 2012
Date Written: May 29, 2012
Accountants have risen to leadership positions in many large companies, but few have been successful in as many major corporations, and to such an extent, as was Ernest Robert Breech. His 1978 obituary stated that Breech had created “one of the greatest accounting careers in history” [Obituary, 1978]. Breech won the gold medal for achieving the highest score on the 1921 CPA Examination in Illinois. Following a short career as a bookkeeper with Fairbanks, Morse and Company, a manufacturer of scales, and other Chicago-area companies, he went to work for Yellow Cab Manufacturing Company. Yellow Cab became a part of General Motors Corporation (GM) where Breech apprenticed under the tutelage of F. Donaldson Brown, the inventor of the renowned Du Pont Formula and other financial breakthroughs. Breech became president of what was then a GM subsidiary, North American Aviation Corporation. He then moved to the presidency of Bendix Aviation. In 1946, Breech moved to Ford Motor Company, where he became chairman of the board, and where he remained until 1960. In 1961, he became chairman of the Board of Trans World Airlines (TWA). Thus, Breech enjoyed a career in the limelight — a career that led to him becoming known as the financial problem solver and troubleshooter for companies that needed to be revitalized. He was an intellectual catalyst who applied the lessons of accounting to modern industry.
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