James McDonald (AP Photo)
DETROIT (AP) — F. James McDonald, who was president and chief operating officer of General Motors Corp. throughout much of the 1980s, has died. He was 87.
McDonald died Sunday, the automaker said in a statement Monday. It did not give a specific cause of death.
The former General Motors executive served as president and chief operating officer from February 1981 until August 1987, when he retired.
McDonald, who hailed from Saginaw, Mich., got his start at GM as a student at the automaker's university, the General Motors Institute.
He spent two years in the Navy after graduation and then returned to GM in 1946, working at Saginaw Malleable Iron, a foundry for engine parts.
Over the ensuing decades, McDonald held various positions as he worked his way through the ranks.
Among his many GM assignments, he served as general manager at both Pontiac and Chevrolet.
As president, McDonald made improving GM quality a top priority, creating an initiative between local auto plant and union leadership aimed at improving the quality of GM's products.
McDonald is survived by his wife, a daughter, two sons, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
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