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Mack builds on success with enhanced glider kit offerings

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Allentown, PA – “The Truck Capital of the World”

Mack RB600GK

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When Mack was Mack. Then again you could argue that Mack hasn't been Mack since before Signal.

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3 hours ago, james j neiweem said:

When Mack was Mack. Then again you could argue that Mack hasn't been Mack since before Signal.

I guess even under Signal, as Signal was NOT a truck company, there still had to be some respect or consideration for the ability of the true "truck people" to run the company.  Once other "truck people" get in the mix, I'm sure the atmosphere changed big time.

If you were "heritage Mack", I'm sure there were plenty of people on the "new team" who were determined to prove they had a better way.

How about it KSC, I'm sure you see what I'm driving at.

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On 7/25/2016 at 5:51 PM, james j neiweem said:

When Mack was Mack. Then again you could argue that Mack hasn't been Mack since before Signal.

No, I absolutely could not argue that point at all. As Zenon Hansen so clearly pointed out, Mack Trucks maintained ALL of its autonomy under Signal.

Mack Trucks was at a crossroads when they decided to bring Zenon C.R. Hansen on board to "fix the problem" and lead the company in an all new direction. He did.

Zenon "wanted" Signal's financial support, and he later credited the Signal Companies' board for Mack Trucks' return to dominance. Their financial backing could, and did, supercharge Zenon's growth plans for Mack Trucks. And, Signal promised to allow Mack Trucks to operate with autonomy. They did. Mack earned more money for Signal than any other subsidiary, and Zenon famously kept them aware of that!

Quoting the old man himself, "In my opinion, the Mack-Signal merger was the most successful large corporate merger ever attempted."

In addition to Signal's financial backing being important to Mack's success, Zenon said "the really significant value has been this, that Mack has been associated with a high-grade organization which made good on all its agreements. We have kept our autonomy under Signal, and they have not meddled in the day-to-day operations of our business."

Once, Zenon walked into a Signal board meeting to discuss bonus plans for the conglomerate companies. They didn't tell Zenon what bonuses were going to be handed out, rather he told them! Speaking to the board of the parent company, Zenon knew that it was his company, Mack Trucks, that was making all the money for Signal, and he told them so!

"This is the bonus plan this year in my company [Mack Trucks]. I don't care what you're doing in your companies, but this is what I'm doing in mine."

Particularly while Zenon C.R. Hansen ran Mack, the Signal Companies was extremely loyal to Mack Trucks.

In 1964, prior to Zenon taking over Mack Trucks, the company reported US$275 million in sales. In 1966 with Zenon at the helm for two years, Mack sales reached US$411 million. And in 1970, sales leaped to US$534 million.

We're talking about the man that issued every Mack employee a silver dollar-sized coin with a bulldog on one side, and a slogan on the other side stating "You Make the Difference". I carry my coin every day.

Mack's outstanding earnings in 1966 was a double-edged sword........it made Mack Trucks a takeover target.

Initially, to fight back, Zenon was designated chairman and CEO as well as president. But he finally realized that Mack needed the financial security and protection of a larger conglomerate, but the merger would be on Zenon's terms.

Zenon said, "Our feeling was that if we had to get into bed with someone, it would be a Park Avenue glamour girl, not a Greenwich Village streetwalker."

Zenon believed that a successful merger must address four priorities in this particular order:

1. The employees

2. The dealers; they have US$100 million tied up in Mack trucks and parts

3. The Mack customer

4. The stockholder

In responding to critics who said that shareholders should be the first priority, Zenon said, "What good is the stockholder's dollar if the employees are not happy, if the dealers are in trouble, if they don't have a customer?"

New York bankers introduced Mack Trucks to the Los Angeles-based Signal Oil & Gas Company, and it was the perfect match.

Recalling their initial meeting, Zenon said, "You size up the people and pull it out fast. We had never met, and we had an agreement in two and a half hours."

In the deal, Mack and Zenon retained complete autonomy, and Signal promised not to acquire any other truckmaker. Mack Trucks received Signal's financial backing to ramp up plant expansion, production and sales, and Zenon joined Signal's board of directors.

As a result of the Mack-Signal merger, Mack Trucks in 1971 was once more the top selling diesel truck in the United States. One out of five heavy trucks wore a bulldog.

By the end of 1973, nine years after Zenon C.R. Hansen had taken the helm at Mack Trucks:

- Production had increased 138 percent

- New truck deliveries increased 134 percent

- Mack sales skyrocketed 200 percent, from US$275 million to US$880 million

- Shareholder's equity rose 147 percent, with return on invested capital increasing from 2.7% to 13%

- Earnings per share increased by an astonishing 764 percent

All of this, because of Signal's support of Mack Trucks and Zenon C.R. Hansen, the best truckmaking CEO in the history of the industry right up to the present day.

As Zenon proudly said, and history has gone on to confirm:

"I don't think many companies can match that record. I have been asked many times how we did this. I will say it again, there's no substitute for experience. It all boils down to experience, damn hard work, and good application of effort by the Mack management team. Our talented, dedicated, ingenious Mack people have made a difference."

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I think in any company's success, it always boils down to everything that Zenon said, And I think it always comes down to the people down the line that really make things happen.

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Was there a lot of those coins issued? I have one Andi always wondered the story behind it. 

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8 minutes ago, Dirtymilkman said:

Was there a lot of those coins issued? I have one and I always wondered the story behind it. 

The old man (Zenon Hansen) handed them out to everyone. Letting everyone know that they made the difference was a big deal to him.

His ability to inspire dedication and loyalty, of a kind unique to Mack Trucks, is indescribable. Never a finer leader and human being was there.

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