Robert Galvin, the former CEO and chairman of Motorola, passed away today at the age of 89. He took over the reins of the automotive radio manufacturing company in 1959 and stayed through 1990, when he left as the chairman after overseeing the development of the first mobile phone among other technological innovations. He led the company, which was founded by his father, from $290 million in sales in the 50s to $10.8 billion in annual revenue when he left.
Motorola since has spun out its semiconductor manufacturing business and then this year it split into two business units: One that makes handsets and the other which makes telecommunications gear. Motorola Mobility (s mmi), the portion of Motorola that manufacturers cell phones and is in the process of being acquired by Google (s goog), issued the following statement:
“We are greatly saddened by the loss of Bob Galvin. During his 29-year tenure at Motorola Inc., Bob oversaw remarkable growth and transformed Motorola into a global leader in technology, with $10.8 billion in sales in 1990, the year he stepped down as chairman. Bob was a visionary within the technology sector, leading the creation of the global cellular telephone industry from the introduction of the first portable cell phone prototype, the DynaTAC, to the first pocket-sized ‘flip phone’, the StarTAC, in 1996.
Bob’s commitment to innovation has remained a core value at Motorola Mobility and his contributions have left a lasting mark on both the Motorola Mobility portfolio and the entire cell phone industry. Today we honor Bob’s many accomplishments and celebrate the technology he was so instrumental in building.”
Comment from Sanjay Jha, chairman and CEO, Motorola Mobility, “Today, we lost a transformative leader and visionary. We will continue to honor Bob Galvin’s legacy here at Motorola Mobility. He was committed to innovation, and was responsible for guiding Motorola through the creation of the global cellular telephone industry. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family.”