History Lessons

Be The Brand - Victor Kiam

As marketing VP of Playtex, Kiam described bra sizes as 'Ping Pong, Ding Dong, King Kong and Holy Cow!', but with a middle name like Kermit, the late CEO of Remington can be forgiven as an eccentric personality. The Yale-educated millionaire's son will be forever known as the man who liked the shavers so much, he bought the company. The story goes that Kiam picked up the phone to ask Remington's owner whether he'd sell the business, when his wife pointed out: 'You've never shaved electrically in your life.' 'Honey', he replied, 'I've never worn a bra either.' Kiam was the first CEO to front ads and his enthusiasm made him a global household name.But there was more to Kiam than jokey sales patter. Beneath his perma-tanned exterior was a serious tough-nut. Within a year, he had turned the business' $30 million deficit into a $47 million profit. A workaholic, Kiam never let an opportunity pass either. 'If you can grow it,' he said, 'we can shave it.'

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