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Published: Friday, 3/19/2010

Dana board member, financial wizard dies


DETROIT - Jerome York, a board member at Toledo's Dana Holding Corp. and at Apple Inc., and a financial wizard who is credited with turning around Chrysler and IBM, died yesterday at the age of 71.

Mr. York, who lived in suburban Detroit, was taken to POH Regional Medical Center in Pontiac, Mich., on Tuesday night. The Wall Street Journal reported he suffered from a brain aneurysm.

He joined Dana's board in 2008, where he served as lead director, chairman of its audit committee, and a member of the compensation committee. Dana Executive Chairman John Devine said Mr. York had played an instrumental role in shaping a new Dana and driving the company's improved financial performance.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs said Mr. York was a pillar of financial and business expertise and insight on the board for more than 12 years.

Mr. York, born in Memphis in 1938, worked for all three Detroit automakers starting in the 1960s. He helped Chrysler survive its first government bailout in 1980 and later rose to chief financial officer and helped oversee cost cuts and a return to profitability. He made similar moves as IBM Corp.'s chief financial officer in the 1990s.

He also advised investor Kirk Kerkorian in a later takeover attempt of Chrysler and in efforts to reform General Motors.

As Chrysler's chief financial officer, Mr. York helped restore the No. 3 U.S. automaker to profitability with cuts and asset sales and was considered a potential successor to then-chairman Lee Iacocca. He left Chrysler to become IBM's chief financial officer in 1993.

He left IBM in 1995 to become vice chairman of Tracinda Corp., billionaire Kirk Kerkorian's investment company.

Mr. York was named to GM's board in 2006.

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