Here are some of the industry notables who died in 2017.
Arjay Miller, Ford
Miller was a member of the Whiz Kids, a group of 10 young men who famously persuaded Henry Ford II to hire them en masse in the late 1940s from Harvard, where they had mastered statistical analysis for the U.S. military during World War II.
The group stewarded Ford back to profitability after the war, eventually allowing Ford to become a publicly held company, in 1956. The cost controls they put in place were a radical change for the famously mismanaged automaker. "It was unbelievable," Miller recalled of his first months at Ford in a 2003 interview with Automotive News. "During World War II they lost money on cost-plus contracts. Now that takes some skill, to lose money on a cost-plus contract."
Miller became a close confidant of Ford II and rose to become the automaker's seventh president, in 1963. Ford, buoyed by new models such as the Mustang and Maverick, strict cost oversight and a growing global footprint, posted record revenue and earnings during his time as president. In 1968, Ford II abruptly named a new president: Bunkie Knudsen, who had just been passed over for the president's post at General Motors. Miller became vice chairman. He left Ford's management ranks a year later but stayed on the company's board until 1986. He was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 2006. He died Nov. 3 at 101.
James Crellin, General Motors
Crellin joined GM in 1970 in the corporate news division after a stint as a labor writer for The Detroit News. He was the leading liaison between executives and the press. Crellin became the director of corporate communications in 1995 and retired that year. He died Nov. 4 at 81.