"Hello, Lido; well, hello, Lido; it's so nice to have you back where you belong."
And where Lee Iacocca belongs, of course, is what now is known as the Chrysler group. After all, he saved Chrysler Corp. twice - once in 1980 with $1.5 billion in federal loan guarantees, and again in the early 1990s with product, marketing and a tight ship.
While at Chrysler, Iacocca also became the auto industry's best known pitchman, gripping his ever-present cigar and telling TV viewers matter-of-factly, "If you can find a better car, buy it." He said that with a confidence that there was no way you were going to find a better car.
And then it all came apart. Iacocca retired in 1992 but was restless. So in 1995, he joined billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian in an unsuccessful bid to acquire Chrysler Corp.
After that he was out of sight and out of mind as far as Detroit was concerned. And that was a shame because Iacocca is one of the icons of the U.S. auto industry. He ranks with Sloan, Kettering, Donner, Walter P., and the Henrys, I and II. His forte was marketing, while Sloan's was management and Kettering's was invention and engineering.
Will Iacocca succeed in his new role as the Chrysler group's pitchman? He already is a success. General Motors may have invented employee prices for all. But when Chrysler announced that Iacocca would star in its new commercials, the spotlight focused on him - just the way he likes it.
Welcome home, Lee. It really is nice to have you back where you belong.