People

Ralph J. Gerson

Ralph J. Gerson

Ralph J. Gerson is the former Board Chairman of Guardian Industries Corp.  He now serves as the Treasurer and a Board Director of the William Davidson Foundation. Mr. Gerson is also a private investor.

From 1990 until 2011 Mr. Gerson served as Executive Vice President of Guardian Industries Corp. and President and CEO of Guardian International.  Guardian manufactures float glass and a wide range of fabricated glass products for the residential and commercial construction industries.  The company is also a supplier of vehicle glass and exterior plastic parts for the global automotive industry.

Prior to joining Guardian in 1988, Mr. Gerson was a partner in the Washington, D.C. law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld from 1981 to 1983 and from 1985 to 1987.  His practice was in the areas of international trade and finance, corporate, and legislative law.  From 1983 to 1985, he was appointed Director of Commerce for the State of Michigan.  He also served as Chairman of the Michigan Cabinet Council on Jobs and Economic Development.

From 1977 to 1980, Mr. Gerson served as Counselor to Ambassador Robert S. Strauss in the office of the President’s Personal Representative to the Middle East Peace Negotiations, and Special Assistant in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. In those positions, he worked on the Autonomy Negotiations, which resulted from the Camp David Accords, and on the Multilateral Trade Negotiations, which resulted in the Trade Agreements Act of 1979.

Mr. Gerson received his J.D. degree in 1975 from the University of Michigan Law School, where he was an associate editor of the Michigan Law Review.  He also received a Master of Science degree from the London School of Economics in 1972, and graduated with honors from Yale University in 1971.  At Yale, he majored in economics and political science and was elected President of the Yale Political Union.

Mr. Gerson serves as Vice Chairman of the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU) in New York.  He further serves as Vice-President of the United Jewish Foundation of Metropolitan Detroit, an Officer-at-Large and Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, a Director of the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan, a Director of the Detroit Institute of Arts and an International Board Member of the Weizmann Institute of Science.  He also is a Board Member of The Henry Ford and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

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