Max Wilson 1973


Max E Wilson was born in Hordville, Nebraska, U.S.A. in 1923. He studied at the University of Nebraska, where he obtained a degree majoring in Mechanical Engineering in 1945.

He joined General Motors as a Service Engineer in January 1946. After having risen to high positions in General Motors Overseas and General Motors Continental, he was appointed Managing Director of General Motors International in Copenhagen in December 1960.

He was Managing Director of General Motors South African from March 1963 to September 1965, after which he was appointed Assistant Managing Director of General Motors-Holden's Australia. He became the Managing Director of this concern in 1966.

In 1968 he was appointed Regional Group Executive of General Motors Overseas Operations, and in 1970 he became the General Director of General Motors Overseas Corporation. This is the number three position in the Overseas Operations of the world's largest concern.

To have achieved this position so early in life reflects Mr Wilson's special capabilities in management, business and organisation. One of Mr Wilson's outstanding attributes, the ability to inspire concentrated teamwork and worthwhile effort, is evident from the success of his current projects.

South Africa, and Port Elizabeth in particular, are most fortunate in having been able to benefit from his managerial and technical abilities in the local motor industry during his tenure as Managing Director of General Motors South African.

Because of his managerial and technical abilities, his personal initiative, his vision, and his faith in the future of the motor industry in South Africa and General Motors' place within the industry, he directed over R25 million into expansion of General Motors' facilities. This investment, made at a very critical time for the South African Motor Industry, was to boost his company's local content programme to a level even higher than that required by the authorities. This break­through won the confidence of the leading industrialists and businessmen in the Port Elizabeth industrial area.

Mr Wilson's talents stimulated the economy in general and the motor industry in Port Elizabeth in particular, and the effects are still being felt - not only by his own company, but by the South African motor industry as a whole.

Even though Mr Max Wilson is not now living in South Africa, much of his current time and effort is still concerned with General Motors in South Africa. General Motors South African is still under his direction. His interest, initiative, vision and faith in South Africa are still very much in evidence today.

The Council and the Senate of the University of Port Elizabeth feel that Mr Max Wilson's influence on the economy and the local motor industry deserves recognition, and they consider it a privilege to honour him in this way.