Birthplace: Washington, D.C.
Townsend used his early experiences as a banker at American Express Co (1948?62) to redirect Avis Rent-a-Car. Under his direction as president and chairman, the firm became a credible force in the industry, fueled by the ?We Try Harder? advertising campaign (1962?65). After leaving Avis, he became senior partner of Congressional Monitor (1969), and published Up the Organization (1970), which advocated American business reform.