In that desperate hour when it looked as if Martin Marietta Corp. might be swallowed up by Bendix, Marietta President Thomas G. Pownall made a brief but dramatic speech promising to fight for the company's independence. A tape recording of Pownall's message was sent to several Marietta facilities and some employes cheered when it was played.
But not everyone at Marietta believed Pownall's fight was in the best interest of the company or its employes. The contrary view is expressed in an open letter to Marietta management written Sept. 26 by an official at its headquarters in Bethesda, who asked that his identity be kept secret to protect his job.
The letter and the speech demonstrate the intensity of emotion produced by the month-long corporate confrontation. 'Employes Will Pay'
An open letter to Mr. Agee, at Bendix, and Mr. Pownall, at Martin Marietta:
We have read in the Washington Post today that Judge Young has wished a "pox" on both your houses. We wish much more than simply a "pox" on both of you.
For we are the unlisted casualties of your egos. We are the ones that will pay for your "High Drama" -- your "Ego War" -- through layoffs and lost careers.
Mr. Agee, you squandered your company's resources, you created nothing, you employed no one, you added nothing to the national economy. You worked only for your own self-aggrandizement . . . and lost your company in the process.
Mr. Pownall, you won! But, like all generals, you won't be the one to bleed in the trenches. You won't personally pay the costs.
The costs will be borne by the employees . . . the people that worked with their hands, their minds and their hearts to make Martin Marietta what it was before you wasted it to satisfy your own ego.
Stock analysts wonder if what you did was the "right thing" for those who invested their money in Martin Marietta. We know that what you did was not the "right thing" for the people who invested their lives in Martin Marietta.
You will sell off some operations to finance your victory, but do you realize that "operations" are people?!
Mr. Agee, Mr. Pownall, you fought an ego war in which both of you were protected by your Golden Parachutes--your corporate guarantees . . .
You both won! And all of us, both Bendix and Martin Marietta employes, lost.
Shame on both of you!
A Martin Marietta Employe 'The Right Course'
Good afternoon to you all of you in Bethesda. This is Tom Pownall talking to you from New York. I'm at 101 Park Avenue, in the offices of Dewey Valentine, our special counsel for the case between Martin Marietta and Bendix Corp.
I wanted you to know that our board met today [Aug. 31] to consider the offer of Bendix Corp. to acquire our shares. Our board rejected that offer and has authorized our corporation to make a tender offer for the majority control of Bendix Corp. We are at this time making a press release to that effect which will explain the details of our offer.
We continue to need to retain the privacy in this matter that you have exhibited up to this moment. I hope you will understand that this is not something that ends today, this is a continuing issue and will remain very active for some period of time.
I want to tell you how much I appreciate your confidence in us and your confidence in retaining information which many of you, I know, have received in recent days and to let you know that in the future as this progresses, we will continue to keep you as informed as it is possible to do. I think the course that we're on is exactly the right one and we'll keep our finger on the trigger and our eye on the hog and in due course we'll see what the result is going to be.
Meanwhile, as I urged a few days ago when I spoke with you, please keep your eye on the ball. We still have business to conduct and we must conduct it with a perfection now that is at least equal to the best that we've got to offer.
I'll be in the office tomorrow and in the meanwhile, I just wanted you to know this before it hits the streets, you'll see about, you'll read about it in the papers in the morning and you'll probably see on the news tonight.
That's all I've got to say for the moment and thank you very much.