1963 John Jr Becomes President of WG

John Jr. elected president of WG:

By the end of 1961, the Copperweld account was gone and the financial results of 1962 unfortunately confirmed the accuracy of my report to the directors five years earlier. The annual meeting coming up in April coincided with the expiration of JB’s 25-year reign as controlling stockholder. However, I knew that JB and Art would continue to control and overturn any attempt to borrow money to repair the company situation. I had no interest in staying and taking care of the operation until the company went under. My father agreed to sell me his common stock for 5 cents per share, the face value, plus an employment agreement of $1,000 per month for life and after that, $500 per month for his wive, Mary, should she survive him. JB made this difficult and generous decision and I am sure he regretted it at times in the years ahead. I was more than willing to take my chances in persuading DD and Art Estep to go along with a survival and restoration plan. John Jr. was elected president at the annual meeting in 1963.

Although broke, the company had assets in the land it owned and no debt. My first trip was to our bank, Mellon Bank in Pittsburgh, for without a line of credit to operate on, we were finished. It was extremely fortunate that our banker was a young man from Washington State whose family owned a business there. I arrived in Pittsburgh for lunch and spent the afternoon reviewing our problems, opportunities and risks involved. He asked me to stay overnight and return in the morning. He told me the bank would support us, we had enough going for us that I should give it my best shot and he thought we would succeed. I was grateful for the support and returned to Waynesburg with the good news.