CHICAGO, Oct. 12 (UPI) — Robert Galvin, who led Motorola from 1959 to 1990, guiding the firm through an era of tremendous growth, has died at age 89, his family said.
The Chicago Tribune reported that Galvin “passed away,” Tuesday night without listing a specific cause of death.
Galvin took over the company from his father, Paul Galvin, who founded the company.
At that point, Motorola had annual sales of $290 million. When Galvin stepped down from his chairman position, those numbers were just a memory. Annual sales had reached $10.8 billion, as Motorola emerged as one of the early leaders in the burgeoning mobile phone industry.
Motorola developed an early cell phone prototype in 1973. It took 10 years for the first commercial phone call to be placed using that phone, the Tribune said. By 1996, Motorola was still ahead of the pack when it introduced the first flip phone, called StarTAC.
Galvin served on the board of the Illinois Institute of Technology for more than 50 years, the newspaper said. The Robert W. Galvin Center for Electricity Innovation at IIT is named after him.
Galvin’s son Christopher took over Motorola in 1997, but the company has struggled as cell phone competition intensified over the years. Chris Galvin left the company in 2003.