Rebuilding The Empire

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Rebuilding the Empire

Rebuilding the Empire

Long before the end of the war, the management of American Express had its plans made for resuming its commanding position in world travel and trade. While the signatures were still wet on the surrender signed in Tokyo Bay, it began the work of rebuilding.

It was a gigantic task, brilliantly executed. From 1,500 employees and 50 offices, the personnel of American Express has born expanded to 5,500 employees and 173 offices. Its old offices have been reopened all over the world and new ones added wherever opportunity for service with profit presented a fair prospect. All the former services and conveniences have been restored, and American Expressmen are inventing new ones every day.

Executive Vice-President Howard A. Smith is an important member of the headquarters group - actually he is the All-American centre of the company's activities. He came to American Express in the period of change and expansion after World War I and has been prominently associated with most phases of the company's activities. For a decade he was vice-president in charge of administration of foreign offices, and following that for twelve years he was vice-president and treasurer of American Express. In addition to the important part he takes in all the company's operational activities, Smith, in co-operation with Vice-President Thomas R. Clark, a brilliant expert in financial matters, helps to manage its large in-vestments with extraordinary ability. A man of distinguished appearance, Howard Smith is warm and friendly and can often find time in the press of affairs for a reminiscent chat with visitors or colleagues. As number-two man of the executive team, his responsibilities increase greatly when President Reed is away from New York on an inspection tour.

John K. Livingston is another principal figure in the headquarters group. Before he joined the company, he was in commercial engineering work with the New York Telephone Company, and during World War I he served as an executive of the Red Cross and then of the Fuel Administration.

Livingston, who came to American Express in 1919, has been secretary of the American Express for twenty-seven years, vice-president for a full quarter of a century, and a director for almost twenty years. During his span of service he has played an important role in the expanding activities of American Express. Ralph T. Reed, Howard Smith, and Livingston constituted President Small's inner circle of advisers on policy matters and on special problems connected with such events as the Bank Holiday and the affiliation of American Express with the Chase National Bank.

In the depression years Livingston's accurate judgment and ability to estimate a situation were especially valuable, and later he helped American Express to move with certainty through the intricate problems occasioned by the new legislation of the thirties and subsequent years. Today his keen analytical mind is of great service in coping with the complex problems of the present era.

Another key man at headquarters is Norman Frederic Page. Fred Page is a New Englander with a wry Yankee sense of humour and native calmness in the face of crises. He is listed as vice-president and assistant secretary, but his real job is to be Reed's alter ego. When the president is travelling throughout the world inspecting the company's far-flung offices and getting the feel of various foreign countries, Page is the man his subordinates here go to with the question, "Do you think Mr. Reed would approve of this?" For he knows the president's mind as does no one else, and thus able to think as he does and, by this, ease the enormous burden that Reed carries.

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What next? The management Structure

The management Structure

Though President Reed is its operating head, the management of the American Express Company includes a council of advisers, the most prominent of whom are Chairman of the Board Robert Livingston Clarkson and Vice-Chairman Lynde Selden.

Clarkson is a big, genial man who loves good company and a good story. He is a keen golfer and gives the impression of being an outdoor man and a sportsman. Be not deceived by that! Clarkson is an exceptionally able businessman and financier. Forty years in Wall Street have equipped him to exercise keen judgment in any matter concerning investments or new business.

Though he is kin to Johnston Livingston, one of the original founders of the American Express Company, Clarkson was not actively associated with it until 1934. At that time he made an intensive study of the company and realized its potentialities. He became an important stockholder in the Amerex Holding Company, which owns more than 99 per... see: The management Structure

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