Cite press release|title=Thomas A. Murphy, former GM Chairman & CEO, dies at 90| publisher=General Motors|date=January 18, 2006|url=http://www.prdomain.com/companies/G/GeneralMotors/newsreleases/200611928807.htm%7Caccessdate=February 15, 2010|quote=Murphy served in the U.S. Navy from 1943-46 and reached the rank of lieutenant (j.g.). He was born Dec. 10, 1915, in Hornell, N.Y., and attended Leo High School in Chicago
Murphy began with GM as a clerk in the controller's office after graduating in 1938 from the University of Illinois with a B.S. in accountancy. During World War II, Murphy served in the Navy for three years before returning to work for GM. He moved up the ranks from controller's office, from finance executive:
He retired from GM as chairman and chief executive in 1980. He was also director from 1980 to 1988.
His time at GM was when the automaker was still global leader with a record of 9.55 million cars and trucks sold globally (1978). The impact of the oil embargo in the late 1970s hit GM hard, as well as new policy on safety and regulation. GM remained profitable in the 1980s until Japanese imports began to up the production and lowered costs.
In 2005, GM sold 9.17 million vehicles, the first time since 1978.
He is credited with saying "General Motors is not in the business of making cars. It is in the business of making money."
Mr. Murphy was survived by his wife of nearly 65 years, Catherine Rita Murphy; daughters Catherine Murphy and Maureen M. Fay; and son Thomas A. Murphy Jr.