Education: High school degree, attended Wayne State University but did not graduate
First job: Working in parents' diner
Boards: Karmanos Cancer Institute, Worthington Industries
Resides: Birmingham, Mich.
What is the greatest business lesson you've learned?
Cash is king.
What is the greatest business challenge you've faced, and how did you overcome it?
Being able to go from being an entrepreneur to CEO of a public company. The way I handled it was by putting my head down and trying to understand the differences in the way the job has changed, to go from running a three-person company to running a 10,000-person company and doing an effective job each step of the way.
anybody would ask me what was the most difficult job, it's being able to evolve who you are, because each one of those jobs requires a different kind of technique.
Whom do you most admire in business and why?
There are so many of them. I guess I like Warren Buffett the best because he has a no-nonsense, down-to-earth attitude about the companies he invests in and doesn't put up with any of the crap you normally hear from anybody on the street.
As far as the industry basis, I think the current three guys running the automotive companies -- Bill Ford, (Rick) Wagoner and Dieter (Zetsche). I think they've had enormous hurdles that I think they're all overcoming. You will see a revitalized auto industry coming out of Detroit.