GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT OF OPERATIONS, 1952 Learning Diplomacy Haldeman: All of the departments were managed by Mr. Turton's old cronies and buddies, and each man had a little empire. They just didn't think anything about this young whippersnapper who was coming around. I had to sit for an hour in the mill superintendent's office, waiting for him to receive me and then sit back and say, "What do you want to know?" I remembered Machiavelli's book and the rule that the new prince always decimates the other princes and puts his own people in. So I had to start, bit by bit, to assume management. I was the general superintendent, and these fellows had to report to me. It took an awful lot of diplomacy. Swent: Had you had any formal training in management? Haldeman: In those days management was not what you call management today.. . Harvard Business School and management classes in universities. No, I learned engineering, mining, geology, and metallurgy, period. I never had a course in management, much less a course in politics, an area I will get into. Swent: Had management even been mentioned as something that you would need to be aware of? Haldeman: In the fifties, Harvard Business School suddenly became important in all of the business world. Prior to that, businesses were run by old-time managers. It was only in the forties and the fifties there was a sudden awareness of industrial engineering and the likes that became a tool of management . Then came all of these management training schools . This all started about the time I was stepping out of the mine and into management with absolutely no background in it. Nobody else did in the company. [laughter]
Swent: You were so isolated up there, you probably weren't aware of the domestic politics either. Haldeman: No, absolutely not. I was isolated in the mine, with American town sites, American management, and 1 wasn't aware of any politics going on. View of Sewell from below (click for larger image)
General Manager Franklin D. Turton Haldeman: About this time Mr. Turton passed away. He died at Coya, the town where the management office was. Mr. Michaelson had to go to Santiago to take the head job. Turton never wanted to. Stannard tried to get Turton to go to Santiago, and he built a building there with an apartment in it. But Turton had a beautiful house in Coya with a big garden and fruit trees. He was out at the mine, and he said, "I'll go to Santiago over my dead body," and that's exactly how he went. He died of a heart attack while he was out in the garden, propping up his fruit trees after a windstorm. Turton was a character and a wonderful man. He built up the company. We used to have nail factories and made our own stationery and form books and everything, because you had to be independent to do it. Sometimes it took eighteen days by boat to get instructions down from the United States. You can't run a company that way. Sometimes the telephone didn't work; . sometimes the manager had so many problems that he didn't answer the telephone. [laughs] There wasn't any fax or anything like that. Those were different days. We even made our own coffins. You had to be self-contained.
Area map showing Sewell (click for larger image)
Index to Haldeman Interview