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Charles Stewart Mott

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Charles Stewart Mott

Charles Stewart Mott (1875-1973) was born in Newark, New Jersey, and graduated from Stevens Institute of Technology in 1897 with an engineering degree. He became president of his family’s bicycle-tire manufacturing firm, Weston-Mott Company, in Utica, New York, adding automobile tires to its product line and merging with Buick in 1905. After General Motors (GM) bought Weston-Mott in exchange for GM stock, Mott was briefly vice president of GM and served on its board of directors for the rest of his life.

In 1931 GM took over Southern Sugar Corporation, which was failing financially, and renamed it United States Sugar Corporation. Although Mott’s background was in business, he also had an interest in land; his farming ancestors came to the United States in 1645. Mott personally added millions of dollars in capital to GM’s investment, and the company turned a profit by 1941, after solving drainage issues and developing sugarcane varieties matched to South Florida’s growing conditions.

U.S. Sugar became Florida’s leading sugar producer by the early 1980s, due in part to the efficiency of its sugar mills and its development of quality machinery. By then Mott had been succeeded as chairman by his eldest son, Charles Stewart Harding Mott (1906-1989). During Harding Mott’s tenure, U.S. Sugar diversified into citrus and vegetables, purchasing South Bay Growers in 1980.

Both Charles Stewart Mott and C. S. Harding Mott established charitable foundations that continue their missions to end poverty and help the environment. In addition, through U.S. Sugar, the Mott family provided many college scholarships to students, as well as grants to schools, including Florida Atlantic University.

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