Yntema, Theodore O. (1900–1985)
Yntema was born on 8 April 1900 and died on 18 September 1985. He distinguished himself in the academic world as well as in the worlds of public policy and of business. His training was as varied as his career: he received an AM degree in chemistry in 1922, became a CPA in 1924, an AM in business in 1924, and a Ph.D. in economics in 1929. His Ph.D. thesis, A Mathematical Reformulation of the General Theory of International Trade - still in print in 1985 – is an elegant mathematical extension to the field of international trade, of Alfred Marshall’s price theory for a domestic economy. The year after receiving his Master’s degree in chemistry he began a 25-year academic career at the University of Chicago. After one decade in accounting, he served a second decade as Professor of Statistics, a post which for three years he combined with that of Director of Research of the Cowles Commission for Research in Economics. The last five years he served as Professor of Business and Economic Policy, an area in which he could draw upon his wide experience as economic consultant to United States Government agencies and to private companies. During 1942–9 he served as Director of Research, and, in 1961–7, as Chairman of the Research and Policy Committee, of the Committee for Economic Development (CED), shaping it into one of the most influential public organizations in the field of economic and social policy. In 1949 he embarked upon a new career, going to the Ford Motor Company as Vice-President and Director, and serving as Chairman of its Finance Committee during 1961–5. In that capacity, he was responsible for introducing highly innovative systems of financial management and for the recruitment and supervision of a group of so-called ‘whiz kids’ who helped to revitalize the company, two of whom subsequently became presidents of the company.