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Area Business Executive James S. Ross Retires From U.Va. Patent Foundation Board

Dec. 2, 1999 -- James S. Ross, former president of the board of the University of Virginia Patent Foundation, is retiring from the board after 16 years of service.

The longtime leader of the Patent Foundation served as president and chairman of the board from 1992 to 1998 and also filled in as acting executive director during a transitional period in 1997.

"The strong financial state of today's Patent Foundation owes much to Jim's insight and global business experience and his willingness to donate generously of his time," said Haydn Wadley, president of the U.Va. Patent Foundation Board. "Jim implemented numerous initiatives that have set the stage for the Foundation to provide significantly increased support to the University. His wise counsel and long experience with the Foundation will be sorely missed."

In 1997, as acting executive director, Ross closed some important license transactions and headed the nationwide search for a new director. His efforts were instrumental in bringing the current executive director, Robert S. MacWright, to Charlottesville in October 1997.

"Jim Ross supported the changes needed to bring the Patent Foundation to the next level and had a quiet confidence about the outcome," MacWright said. "I respect and admire Jim, his wit, integrity, wisdom, and his dedication to U.Va. and the Patent Foundation. I will miss him."

A native of Pleasant Ridge, Mich., Ross, 79, is a 1949 graduate of Harvard Business School. He spent much of his corporate career building a U.S. business presence in Latin America.

Ross spent 13 years with Chrysler Corp., beginning in 1949. In 1956, he became manufacturing manager of Dodge Truck and the following year transferred to Venezuela where, as managing director, he supervised Chrysler 's first manufacturing efforts in Latin America.

Later promoted to vice president and director of Chrysler Western Hemisphere Corp., Ross was responsible for all of Chrysler 's products, plants and marketing in Latin America.

Ross also served as president and managing director for International Telephone and Telegraph, Argentina (1965-71). As vice president-international of Rockwell Standard and president of the company 's International Automotive Group (1972-82), he helped create joint ventures in 17 countries.

Since 1983, he has worked as an international business consultant. Among other projects, he helped CMI Corp. create a joint venture with the Mexican government for road building equipment. He currently serves as chairman of Fritec U.K. Ltd., a marketing and warehousing organization that sells automotive brake material in the U.K.

In addition to the U.Va. Patent Foundation, Ross has served on 30 boards of directors in the U.S. and Latin America.

With his wife, Ruth, Ross has made his home in Free Union since 1979.

Contact: Charlotte Crystal, (804) 924-6858

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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