May 7, 2008


John H. McConnell, Steel Magnate/Worthington Industries Founder, Dies at 84
A memorial service for John H. McConnell, founder of Worthington Industries, will be be held at 7 p.m. EST on Wednesday, May 7, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Doors will open at 6 p.m

McConnell passed away on Friday, April 25, 2008, at the age of 84. The son of a steel worker, he was born May 10, 1923, in Pughtown, W.Va., and grew up during the Great Depression. He served aboard the U.S.S. Saratoga during World War II and married his high school sweetheart, Peggy Rardin upon discharge from the Navy. He then used the GI bill to enter Michigan State University, where he studied business and played football.

While working for Weirton Steel Corp., McConnell identified a niche in the industry for custom steel processing services. He used his 1952 Oldsmobile as collateral for a loan, and in 1955 launched Worthington Industries and the steel processing industry.

Known as “Mr. Mac,” he championed the idea that workers should partake in their company’s success and set up an employee profit sharing plan in 1966. Today, the company he founded in Columbus, Ohio, is traded on the New York Stock Exchange and employs 8,000 people in 69 facilities in 11 countries. It has annual sales of approximately $3 billion.

He served as Chairman until 1996 and retired from the board in 2002. Although he stepped down from a formal leadership role in the company, McConnell’s leadership style, which has been included in the business curriculum at Harvard University and praised by management guru Tom Peters, still drives the company’s culture. That philosophy, based on the Golden Rule: “We treat our customers, employees, investors and suppliers as we would like to be treated,” is the subject of McConnell’s 2004 book, “Our Golden Rule.”

Memorial contributions may be made in his name to the Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center, P.O. Box 986, Worthington, OH 43085 or online at The arts center is named after Mr. McConnell’s late wife, Peggy.

Source: Worthington Industries


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