Robert Ingersoll, former Chairman and CEO of manufacturer Borg-Warner and RN’s U.S. Ambassador to Japan, passed away on August 22. He was 96:

Mr. Ingersoll was chairman and chief executive of the Chicago-based Borg-Warner Corporation when President Richard M. Nixon appointed him ambassador to Japan in 1972. He was the first business executive named to the post since World War II; all but one of the others had been career diplomats.

The appointment came at a time of strained relations between Washington and Tokyo, primarily over economic issues. Mr. Ingersoll’s company had long had joint ventures and licensing arrangements with major Japanese companies.

With Japan’s economy booming, the primary source of tension was its $3.5 billion trade surplus with the United States. In 1972, after negotiations with Mr. Ingersoll, Japan agreed to import $750 million in American manufactured goods and another $390 million in agricultural products.

Mr. Ingersoll was promoted to assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs in 1974 and a year later was named deputy secretary of state, a post he held for two years.