John Jackson (1885? - 1949) was the fourth President of Kramer Associates, the Mexican supercorporation, from 1926 until his death in 1949. Jackson oversaw K.A. during a time when it moved half a world from its original home, and increased its properties and assets while the world was engaged in a destructive war.
Douglas Benedict had been grooming Jackson as his successor since 1916, which Sobel describes as both a logical and intelligent choice. Jackson had a fine grasp of international business, and was not associated with any political faction. Jackson was made head of K.A.'s Asian operations in 1923, and remained overseas until he returned to San Francisco to take control of the company in June 1926. At that time, K.A. had assets estimated at $9,000,000,000, sales of approximately $11,000,000,000, and had a million employees around the world. Three quarters of its sales originated outside of Mexico, and France, Germany, and the Netherlands had passed legislation limiting its subsidiaries within territories under their control, while Japan refused to allow the corporation to operate in its lands, and placed import quotas on its products. K.A. controlled the economy of the Philippines under a contract signed by that nation's president, and all but controlled the economies of Argentina and Brazil.
Newly-elected Mexican President Pedro Fuentes believed that K.A. held too much power in Mexico, and he was determined to curb that power. He considered simply expropriating the company's assets, but believed that K.A. had too much influence in the Mexican Congress to allow him to do so. Taxing the company's assets and profits would do too much harm to the rest of the Mexican economy. In the end, Fuentes decided to copy Governor-General Henderson Dewey's tactics in the C.N.A., and appoint a commission under Secretary of the Exchequer Stanley Zwicker to "investigate large corporations in the United States of Mexico, and make suggestions for legislation." Jackson in turn announced a restructuring of K.A. into eleven separate companies: Kramer of Mexico, Kramer of the Philippines, European Kramer, Kramer Finance, World Petroleum, World Locomobile, World Transportation, Technology, Ltd., United Dry Goods, Benedict Machine Tools, and Cortez Mines. Each company was incorporated in a different country, with its own board of directors and president. In turn, these firms spun off a total of 87 subsidiaries, which in turn had 165 sub-subsidiaries. All were controlled indirectly by Kramer Associates, S.A.
Fuentes' failure to control K.A. resulted in his loss in the 1932 Mexican elections to Senator Alvin Silva of Durango. Unlike Fuentes, Silva cared little about K.A., preferring to concentrate on foreign policy. Jackson, meanwhile, had decided to move K.A.'s corporate headquarters to Luzon in the Philippines, a move he announced on 24 February 1936. When it was learned that K.A. had been selling securities and using the funds to purchase gold, the result was panic on all the world's securities markets. A month later, a delayed reaction from the securites panic caused the C.N.A.'s National Financial Administration to go bankrupt.
Silva was re-elected in 1938, despite K.A.'s funding for his opponent, setting the stage for the outbreak of the Global War the following year. In 1939 and 1940 Kramer executives in Australia and Japan met secretly with government leaders to warn them of Silva's plans to attack them. In 1940 Jackson went further, proposing an alliance between K.A. and the two nations "to guarantee peace in the Pacific, and, more particularly, defend the area against a potential Mexican challenge." Jackson's efforts paid off when Silva launched an attack on Japan on 1 January 1942, and invaded China in alliance with the Republic of Siberia. K.A. spent more than N.A. £20 billion to subsidize anti-Mexican efforts in China, and an equivalent amount in the rest of the Pacific region. By 1943, K.A. was an equal partner in the Japanese-Australian alliance; by the following year, it had become the leader.
Silva responded to K.A.'s covert assistance to the Japanese and Australians by announcing on 22 March 1944 that all K.A. properties in Mexico would be seized and nationalized. The loss of key K.A. employees crippled the Mexican war effort, and due to the complexity of the Jackson reorganization, no more than one fifth (and possibly no more than one tenth) of K.A.'s assets were actually seized. Assisted by K.A., the Australians were able to defeat several Mexican and German invasion attempts, and Japan succeeded in conquering Siberia. In 1948, Jackson took Taiwan, and added it to the Philippines as the base for Kramer Associates. He died the following year on 15 September 1949, and was succeeded as head of K.A. by Carl Salazar.
Sobel's sources for the business career of John Jackson are four interviews with Stanley Tulin on 11 November and 3 December 1970, and on 6 January and 10 January 1971; a letter from Tulin dated 1 December 1970; and notes from Tulin's forthcoming book The Kramer Associates: The Jackson Years, due to be published in 1974.
|Presidents of Kramer Associates|
|Bernard Kramer • Diego Cortez y Catalán • Douglas Benedict • John Jackson • Carl Salazar|