John D. Biggers

(1888-1973)

CEO of Libbey Owens Ford Company

Biggers served for 34 years with Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass Company (L-O-F). He was president from 1930 through 1953 and then became board chairman. He also was chief executive officer until he retired in 1960.

A 1909 University of Michigan graduate, Biggers moved to Toledo in 1911 to take on the role of general secretary of the Toledo Chamber of Commerce. He was soon recruited  by William Walbridge to become assistant treasurer for the Owens Bottle Machine Company. He later became assistant general manager. In 1926 he left Owens to work at the Dodge Brothers British Company in England. In 1930, when Libbey-Owens merged with the Edward Ford Plate Glass Company to form L-O-F, Biggers came back to Toledo to serve as the CEO.  

 

During his leadership, L-O-F experienced substantial growth, despite the Great Depression and WWII. Sales of the company were $12 million annually when he took over as president. By 1959 they had climbed to more than $300 million. During the same period, employment climbed from 2,607 to 12,692.. Biggers was recognized for his strong labor-management relations skills. He was a key figure in bringing the Toledo Labor Peace Plan to nation-wide attention.

During World War II, he served as director of production in the US Office of Production Management. He was a longtime member of the Business Advisory Council of the US Department of Commerce, serving as its chairman in 1953. From 1957 to 1960, he was public governor of the New York Stock Exchange.

He served as president of the Toledo Museum of Art and director of the University of Toledo. He also served on the board of directors of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, the Johns Manville Corporation, the Bendix Corporation, and Toledo Edison.

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