Alfred P. Sloan

Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr. (* May 23, 1875 in New Haven, Connecticut, † February 27, 1966 ) was from 1923 to 1937, the President of General Motors.

He created the Auto hierarchy of General Motors ( GM), in which one could enter as a customer brand technically "down" and eventually was able to " work up " over the years at the top, in this case, Cadillac: This was a platform system with created differentiated car brands, in which each customer could find an offer. Nowadays procedures with the exception of niche manufacturers all automotive companies in a similar manner. In addition, Sloan is still regarded as the practical inventor of the planned obsolescence. In the 1920s he led in his capacity as GM president an annual configuration changes and modifications to cars and so animated customers to premature buying new, though their vehicles were still fully functional. During his lifetime he contributed to science and research, established the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and called the Sloan Fellows program in place.


He studied electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he made his degree in 1895.

After his studies he worked at the bearing manufacturer Hyatt Roller Bearing, where he rose to become president. Hyatt in 1916 combined with other automotive suppliers to United Motors, which he was president too. As a United Motors was bought in 1918 by General Motors, Sloan got there the position of vice president. In 1923 he was elected as the successor of Pierre S. du Pont as president of General Motors. He held until 1937 when he was elected Chairman of this position. In 1946, he finally retired.

Sloans development of the Taylor approach

Sloan's observation was, the larger the company, the more difficult and extensive work is the scientific approach ( Taylorism ) coordination. Sloan responded by:

  • Creation of decentralized business units, which were led by the top management by indicators of control.
  • Divisional structure of the complex car production in several car brands ( Chevrolet, Oakland / Pontiac, Buick, Oldsmobile, Cadillac, GMC). Thus, the company more clearly and production control was easier.
  • Division of labor at the management level. This specialist departments were created with a focus on technology, for example, finance or sales market.