Jim Stengel: Great American Hero

Rescues Self, Trapped Compatriots From Stalled Elevator (With His Bare Hands)

By Published on .

Jim Stengel may no longer be a master of the marketing universe capable of leaping the tall $8 billionish ad budget of Procter & Gamble Co. in a single bound, but he can still pry open stuck elevator doors with his bare hands.

Jim Stengel
Jim Stengel
The mild-mannered former P&G Global Marketing Officer was in an elevator at UCLA's Anderson School of Management, his new academic home, on March 3 with two UCLA colleagues, an executive of his marketing shop Grow, and an Ad Age editor at large, when the doors closed ominously in slow motion with much stalling and beeping. The doors couldn't be opened with any combination of buttons, and a maintenance man couldn't pry them open from the outside either.

A call to the dean's office, however, revealed that a similar stall the night before was resolved by prying the door open from the inside, upon which Mr. Stengel sprang into action, pulling the doors open seemingly effortlessly.

UCLA marketing professor Sanjay Sood, who co-teaches a marketing class with Mr. Stengel and was co-stuck in the elevator, later jokingly burnished the Stengel legend, saying he'd flung off his glasses in Clark Kent fashion to bend steel to his will. Well, actually the glasses stayed on, but you get the picture.

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