TO THE EDITOR:
Regarding "Fred Schwab, who helped rescue Porsche's U.S. fortunes, dies," autonews.com, July 29: We were the PR agency for Porsche Cars North America for some 20 years, beginning in 1993 while Fred was CEO. I remember my initial trip to the Reno, Nev., headquarters. Fred was a bean counter by training, but he took interest in product and press relations. During our conversation that day, I said Porsche needed to drastically increase its press fleet (which was a handful, at best). On the spot, he authorized increasing the number to 11 (a large number at the time, as there were just 911s).
Many might not remember Porsche's situation when Fred become CEO in 1992. U.S. sales were 4,115. "Experts" had begun writing the company off and predicting the death of sports cars. In 2003, the year Fred left, sales were 28,417. The company had relocated to Atlanta, the model lineup had broadened and the dealers were stronger.
Fred "got it." He attended all the product launches we put together. He would speak during the first morning presentation. His words as the press prepared to head out for a first drive were generally: "And if you have an accident, remember to die in the crash; I don't want to hear any excuses."
Fred was one of the best company executives I had the pleasure to work with in five decades of automotive communications. He was decisive and smart and understood the business — the right person for the position at the time.
MIKE GEYLIN, President, Kermish-Geylin Public Relations, Chatham, Mass.