Source: PR Newswire
Robert ("Bob") William Galvin, the longtime chief executive officer of Motorola Inc., died peacefully during the night of October 11, 2011 in Chicago. Galvin – a transformative global business leader, innovator, author, and philanthropist – was 89 years old.
Galvin oversaw remarkable growth and innovation during his 29-year tenure as CEO of Motorola. When he took over in 1959 on the death of his father, Motorola founder Paul V. Galvin, the company had annual sales of $290 million, primarily in North America. Building on the strong foundation he established with his father in Communications, Automotive, Military Electronics, Semiconductor and Consumer products, Galvin transformed Motorola into a global technology leader with $10.8 billion in sales in 1990, the year he stepped down as chairman.
Throughout his life, Galvin was committed to innovation. "At times we must engage an act of faith," he said, "that key things are doable that are not provable." Under his guidance, Motorola became a world leader in semiconductor, paging, two-way radio, space and military communication, and automotive embedded control technologies. Motorola's semiconductor products were particularly seminal, enabling a generation of computing and data communications start-ups in the 1980s and 1990s.
He was profoundly grateful to the dedicated and talented employees of Motorola. "People are Motorola's most important asset," he often said. Galvin instilled his vision for a workplace marked by dignity, respect, integrity, trust, training, and fair pay in Motorola's global management team, and he urged heads of government and policymakers to encourage such workplace policies in order to enhance the opportunity for innovation and wealth creation in their countries. He measured himself and his executive team by the company's treatment of its workforce, and he was proud that Motorola employees never felt the need to unionize in any of its global operations. He insisted that all Motorola employees address him simply as 'Bob.'
In the early days of the Creative Education Foundation, Bob met our founder Alex Osborn and became intrigued by the concept of Brainstorming and Creative Problem Solving. Osborn licensed the rights of his book Your Creative Power to Galvin, who published a short version of the book under the Motorola University umbrella. He believed so strongly in every person's creativity that he made sure every employee at Motorola received a copy. Galvin often recalled his meeting with Osborn as life-changing; it shifted his way of thinking and made him passionate about spreading Osborn’s techniques throughout Motorola. Until his death, he supported CEF in every possible way and we are grateful to have had such an innovation icon amongst our community.
Image above taken during a 2009 visit to Bob Galvin by CEF. From left to right, former CEF Trustee Louis Gersten, President & CEO, Victoria Cliche, Bob Galvin and former CEF Vice-Chairman, Richard Schenkman.