• U.S.

Public Relations: Silent Partners

2 minute read

Efforts of Big Business to win the public’s friendship during the past year have included annual reports for employes, ”open house” parties in factories, inclusion of “representatives of the public” on directorates. Last week ruddy, gum-chewing President Walter Paul Paepcke of Container Corp. of America, a 42-year-old Yaleman who is one of Chicago’s most successful industrialists, tried another means. He released a lengthy survey of Container Corp. stockholders.

To a questionnaire which Mr. Paepcke sent Container Corp.’s 7,465 stockholders, 3,300 replied, 26% of them women; every State except Wyoming was represented. Typical stockholder is 48 years old, married and has children, went to high school but holds no college degree. Fifty-six percent own their homes (average value: $12,123.01); 76.1% own automobiles (Buicks, Fords, Chevrolets preferred); only 5% are, like Container Corp. in the paper business. Representing every occupational classification from auctioneer to zoologist, most of the stockholders are employes themselves.

“This survey,” said President Paepcke. “represents the first effort on the part of a corporation to make articulate its ‘silent partners,’ the stockholders,in an operations problem.” He hopes it will quash for good the notion that all Container Corp.’s silent partners are “bloated millionaires who ride in limousines and wear silk hats.”

Other facts about Container Corp.’s stockholders disclosed by the survey: Of 781,253 shares outstanding, 45.6% are held by brokers and companies, the rest by individuals: 25.1% are owned by big holders (5,000 shares or more), 15.9% by small holders (one to 50 shares). Biggest corporate shareholders are Paepcke Corp., an investment trust (54.462). Owens-Illinois Glass Co. (37.300), Sefton Investment Co. (27,220).

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