Swope, Gerard

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SWOPE, GERARD (1872–1957), U.S. electrical engineer and industrialist. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, where his father was a watchcase manufacturer, Swope became fascinated with electricity as a child. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1895 and rapidly rose to the post of general sales manager of Western Electric, where he became responsible for opening additional branches in the United States as well as in China and Japan. In 1913 he was elected vice president and director of the company. During World War i, Swope was a member of the U.S. Army's general staff and was decorated. He also received medals from France and Japan. In 1919 he was named president of International General Electric and, in 1922, chairman of its board. From 1922 to 1939 he served successively as president and chairman. Under his leadership the company's success reached unprecedented levels. Swope was also associated with the development of radio and radio parts, and was a director of the National Broadcasting and Radio Corporation of America. In 1939 he retired from General Electric and became chairman of the New York City Housing Authority, one of many offices he filled in voluntary public service. In 1931 he published the "Swope Plan." This plan called for stabilizing industry and emphasized industry's responsibility for preventing unemployment and mitigating its results. He received a number of honorary degrees, the Hoover medal, and the gold medal of the National Academy of Social Sciences. He visited Israel in 1957 and bequeathed several million dollars to the Haifa Technion. He was the brother of Herbert Bayard *Swope.

[Joachim O. Ronall]