Volume 46, Issue 2 - March 2011

Issue@Hand

Here’s the news story:
Frank Archinaco, who led PPG Industries’ glass division for several years, passed away on February 17 at his home in Sewickley, Pa. He was 67.

Archinaco joined PPG’s glass contract and supply department in 1965 as a management trainee in Newark, N.J., and subsequently held a series of management posts. He became director of marketing and development for PPG’s automotive and aircraft glass business in 1979, general manager of auto replacement glass products in 1981 and general manager of European glass operations in 1984.

Archinaco returned to the United States as vice president of automotive original equipment glass products in 1986. Five years later, he was named vice president of automotive and aircraft glass. He was made vice president, glass, in 1994, and a year later was promoted to senior vice president, glass. In 1997, Archinaco was elected corporate executive vice president for glass and chemicals, prior to his retirement on July 1, 2002.

In February 2008, Archinaco rejoined PPG as president and chief executive officer (CEO) of PPG’s automotive glass and services business, a position he held until PPG divested the business in September 2008.

“PPG has lost one of its most beloved leaders,” says Chuck Bunch, PPG chairman and CEO. “Throughout his career, Frank was held in extremely high regard by customers and employees alike for his judgment, integrity, wisdom and straightforward management style. He was also an extraordinary communicator with a great wit and sense of humor. On a personal level, Frank was a good friend and mentor to me, and I will miss him greatly.”

Archinaco is survived by his wife, Linda, two sons, two brothers, a sister, several cousins, three stepdaughters and three grandchildren. Archinaco had been diagnosed with terminal, inoperable pancreatic cancer in October 2010.

Here’s the real story:
He was, in just about every way, larger than life. It befit him that he had been named Frank, because that was a quality nearly everyone attributed to him. In a corporate environment, where you may be known sometimes as much for what you don’t say as what you do, Frank Archinaco was admired as much for his ability to speak with that frankness as he was for his ability to get results.

In the golden age of the primary manufacturers, when one persona represented the company before its customers, Frank Archinaco was PPG. His talents were so valued and highly regarded that he was wooed out of retirement to keep the auto glass division together until it could be sold. I remember thinking at the time that it was a great move, because people would believe and trust what he told them. If he said it was going to be all right, it would be. In speaking with him at that time, he bemoaned what his return from retirement would do to his golf game. I am pretty sure he was not joking.

I got to do in-depth interviews with him twice over the years and one question I asked still stands out all these years later. I told him that I had been watching him sitting in the airport on the way back from Düsseldorf, Germany, a few weeks before and could hear all the different glass people coming up to see him. “Greatie,” one said, “Love your shirt,” said another; a third appeared just about to be groveling before him. So, I asked him, “With all that praise, adoration and obsequiousness everywhere you go, how do you keep from letting it go to your head?” I asked, thinking the answer would be very telling.

I was expecting a response like, “Well, Deb, my family keeps me grounded, etc. etc,” because that’s usually what I got as answers to questions like that.

But not from Frank. Instead he just sat back in his chair and laughed one of the loudest belly laughs I’d ever heard. It seemed to go on for minutes. He just laughed and laughed and finally looked at me and said, “Uh, not a problem.”

No it wouldn’t be for him, because he was real. He was solid. He was very good at what he did. He will be missed.

—Deb


USG
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