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The Box by Marc Levinson

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Chapter 12

 

 

The Bigness Complex

Malcom McLean sold his stock and quietly left the board of R. J. Reynolds Industries in February 1977. By all accounts, the marriage had not been a happy one. McLean was frustrated by the tobacco giant’s bureaucracy and bewildered by its repeated changes of strategy. Most of all, though, he was restless. “I am a builder, and they are runners,” McLean explained. “You cannot put a builder in with a bunch of runners. You just throw them out of kilter.”1

After giving up day-to-day responsibility for Sea-Land Service in 1970, he had spent $9 million to buy Pinehurst, the famed golf resort in central North Carolina, not far from his birthplace in Maxton. He acquired a small life insurance company, an estate in Alabama, ...

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