Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Eli M. Black
Born Elihu Menashe Blachowitz in Poland, he came to America as a child. He was a rabbi, but left the synagogue after three and a half years to enter business. He was a successful investment banker and in 1954, he was named president of the American Seal-Kap Company . American Seal Kap made the plastic liners in bottle caps, but Black turned it into a vehicle for acquisitions. He renamed the company AMK after its ticker symbol and jumped on the conglomerate bandwagon of the 1960s. Among his acquisitions was the John Morrell meatpacking company. In 1969, he took over United Fruit Company and renamed his company United Brands.
United Fruit was not a successful acquisition because the company had far less cash than Black thought. Black was not a good manager and his company became crippled with debt. The company's losses were exacerbated by a hurricane in 1974 that destroyed its banana plantations in Honduras. In 1975, he went to his office on the forty-fourth floor of the Pan Am Building in Manhattan, bashed out the window with his briefcase, and jumped to his death on Park Avenue. He was 53.
- "Eli Black's Rites Attended by 500." The New York Times. February 6, 1975.
- Peter Kihss. "44 Story Plunge Kills Head of United Brands." The New York Times. February 4, 1975.
- Peter T. Kilborn. "Suicide of Big Executive: Stress of Corporate Life". The New York Times. February 14, 1975.
- Thomas P. McCann. On the Inside. Beverley, Massachusetts: Quinlan Press, 1987.
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