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NAME: HENRY ROSS PEROT
BORN: JUNE 27, 1930 AMERICAN
RESIDENCES: DALLAS‚ TEXAS‚ UNITED STATE
CITIZENSHIP: UNITED STATES
OCCUPATION: COMPUTER SERVICES‚ REAL ESTATE
NET WORTH: US 3.3 BILLION DOLLARS(2010)
Ross Perot was born in Texarkana, Texas, on June 27, 1930. His father was a cotton broker
and horse dealer. The young Perot was much impressed by his father's negotiating skills and
by his mother's discipline and religious principles. He attended a private school called Patty
Hill. He graduated from Texas High Schoolin Texarkana in 1947. One of Perot's boyhood
friends was Hayes McClerkin, later Speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives and a
prominent Texarkana, Arkansas, lawyer.
Perot joined the Boy Scouts of America and made Eagle Scout in 1942, after only thirteen
months in the program. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. Perot
entered the United States Naval Academy in 1949 and helped establish its honor system. By
the time he graduated in 1953 he was president of his class and battalion commander. By late
1954, Perot was made a lieutenant, junior grade. In 1955, however, Perot expressed some
discontent with his life in the United States Navy in a letter to his father. He quietly served
the remainder of his four-year commitment and resigned his commission. Perot married
Margot Birmingham of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, in 1956.
After he left the Navy in 1957, Perot became a salesman for International Business Machines
(IBM) . He quickly became a top employee, filling his year's sales quota in two weeks, and
tried to pitch his ideas to supervisors who largely ignored him. He left IBM in 1962 to found
Electronic Data Systems (EDS) in Dallas, Texas, and courted large corporations for his data
processing services. Perot was refused seventy-seven times before he was given his first
contract. EDS received lucrative contracts from the U.S. government in the 1960s,
computerizing Medicare records. EDS went public in 1968 and the stock price rose from $16
a share to $160 within days. Fortune called Perot the "fastest, richest Texan" in a 1968 cover
story. In 1984 General Motors bought controlling interest in EDS for $2.4 billion.
In 1974 Perot gainedsome press attention for being "the biggest individual loser ever on the
New York Stock Exchange" when his EDS shares dropped $450 million in value in a single
day in April 1970. Just prior to the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the government of Iran
imprisoned two EDS employees in a contract dispute. Perot organized and sponsored their
rescue. The rescue team was led by retired U.S. Army Special Forces ColonelArthur D.
(Bull) Simons. When the team was unable to find a way to extract their two prisoners, they
decided to wait for a mob of pro-Ayatollah revolutionaries to storm the jail and free all
10,000 inmates, many of whom were political prisoners. The two prisoners then connected
with the rescue team, and the team spirited them out of Iran via a risky border crossing into
Turkey. The exploit was recounted in a book, On Wings of Eagles by Ken Follett, which
became a best-seller. In the 1986 miniseries, Perot was portrayed by Richard Crenna.
In 1984 Perot bought a very early copy of the Magna Carta, one of only a few to leave the
United Kingdom. It was lent to the National Archives in Washington, D.C., where it was
displayed alongside the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. In
2007, it was sold by the Perot Foundation, in order to provide "for medical research, for
improving public education and for assisting wounded soldiers and their families." The
document sold for $21.3 million USD on December 18, 2007 to David Rubenstein, managing
director of the Carlyle Group and kept on display at the National Archives. In 1988 he
founded Perot Systems Corporation, Inc. in Plano, Texas. His son, H. Ross Perot, Jr.,
eventually succeeded him as CEO. In September 2009, Perot Systems was acquired by Dell
for $3.9 billion.
1992 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDACY:
In 1992 he became an independent candidate for U.S. president. Appealing to voters
dissatisfied with traditional party politics, he won 19% of the popular vote, the best third-
party presidential showing since 1912. He ran again in 1996 but received only 8% of the vote.
His Reform Party, which he founded in 1995, gradually established its autonomy from him.
In the 2000 presidential election, Perot refused to become openly involved with the internal
Reform Party dispute between supporters of Pat Buchanan and of John Hagelin. Some state
parties have affiliated with the new. America First Party; others gave Ralph Nader their ballot
lines in the 2004 presidential election.
The one exception to this came in 2005, when he was asked to testify before the Texas
Legislature in support of proposals to extend technology to students, including making
laptops available to them; additionally, changing the process of buying textbooks, by making
electronic books (ebooks) available and by allowing schools to buy books at the local level
instead of going through the state. In an April 2005 interview, Perot expressed concern about
the state of progress on issues that he had raised in his presidential runs.
In January 2008, Perot publicly came out against Republican candidate John McCain and
endorsed Mitt Romneyfor President. He also announced that he would soon be launching a
new website with updated economic graphs and charts. In June 2008, the blog launched,
focusing on entitlements (Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security), the U.S. national debt and
Perot is married to Margot Birmingham; they have five children (Ross Jr., Nancy, Suzanne,
Carolyn, and Katherine). As of 2007, the Perots have 15 grandchildren.
On April 22, 2009, Ross Perot was made a Honorary Green Beret at the John F. Kennedy
Special Warfare Center in Fayetteville, North Carolina, that also honored the OSS, Alamo
Scouts and the First Special Service Force, elite World War Two units that were inducted into
the "1st Special Forces" Regiment. Mr. Perot was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S.
Business Hall of Fame in 1988.
On September 18, 2009, the Texarkana Independent School District named him (1947
graduate of Texas High School) as a 2009 Distinguished Alumnus. In May 2009, he was
appointed an honorary chairman of The OSS Society.
On October 15, 2009, the United States Military Academy at West Point awarded him with
the distinguished Sylvanus Thayer Award.
In honor of his 80th birthday, the bridge connecting Walton and University drives in
Texarkana, Texas, was named the H. Ross Perot Bridge.
On Oct. 2, 2010, Perot was given the William J. DonovanAward from the OSS Society at the
Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, D.C. He is the 26th recipient of the award.
Leadership in business is another crucial ingredient for success. Perot stressed that authority
to make decisions should remain in the field instead of in the corporate bureaucracy. The
EDS procedural manual is starkly simple: ‘Do what makes sense’.
His personal charisma and inspirational leadership was also important. He inspired with his
tenacity and personal mottos such as ‘Eagles don’t flock. You have to find them one at a
Similarly, Henry Ross Perot emphasized giving employees ownership of the company. The
company’s compensation plan emphasized stock options, resulting in the creation of more
than a hundred millionaires at the company. Employees naturally responded to these financial
incentives positively: they followed the motto ‘whatever it takes’ and were not afraid to put
in extremely long hours for difficult projects. In essence, they had a stake in the company’s
success, and naturally would want to work hard as possible so their options would hit the
strike prices! (Options are a creative way to set financial goals for the company!)
The same applied to the company’s acquisition of top talents. When the EDS stock went
public, Perot lured engineers to the company with equity participation
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