Budget Observer – Time Magazine Monday, Dec. 01, 1952

June 27, 2008

Sitting in on budget conferences in Washington, as Eisenhower’s personal “observer”: JOSEPH MORRELL DODGE, 62, president of the Detroit Bank.

Family & Early Years: He was born in Detroit, the son of a commercial artist. A graduate of Detroit’s Central High School (class of 1908), Dodge did not go to college though in later years he won honorary doctorates of law from Wayne and Michigan Universities.

Banking Career: Beginning as a messenger in Detroit’s Central Savings Bank, Dodge had a Horatio Alger rise in the business. In 1933, at 43, he became president of Michigan’s oldest bank, now the Detroit Bank, is also a director of the Chrysler Corp. (but no kin to the Dodge motor family).

Public Career: Government first called him in 1942, when he was asked to handle the renegotiation of Army Air Force contracts in the Midwest. He did so well that Secretary of War Henry Stimson called him to Washington to become top man in the Government’s entire contract renegotiation program. Then he served under Eisenhower, as chief adviser on postwar currency problems in Germany, won the President’s Medal of Merit for his achievements. Later, he went to Japan, arrested an incipient runaway inflation with blunt recommendations for austerity and fiscal reform; the Army decorated him with its Exceptional Civilian Service Medal “for making possible a stabilization program unparalleled in modern history.”

Personality: Unbending (he is “Mr. Dodge” even to the Detroit Bank’s vice presidents), outspoken (he told MacArthur: “I’m no colonel bucking to be a brigadier—I can be objective, because the most I’ll get out of this is a kick in the pants”), indefatigable (“my hobby is work”), Banker Dodge is an implacable anti-inflationist. He and his wife Julia live in fashionable Grosse Pointe outside of Detroit, have one son, Joseph Jeffers, 35. Dodge is an Episcopalian. He makes something of a fetish ot keeping himself physically fit. Some years ago, a boxer with whom he took daily workouts said of him: “If Mr. Dodge had only stuck to boxing instead of becoming a bank president, he might have made something of himself.”


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