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Lew Platt, Former HP CEO, Dies At 64

Platt was CEO of HP for seven years until his retirement in 1999. He later served as director and chairman of Boeing.

InformationWeek Staff

September 9, 2005

2 Min Read

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Lewis Platt, a director and former chairman of the Boeing Co. who also served as chief executive of Hewlett-Packard Co., has died, Boeing said Friday (September 9). He was 64.

Prior to his death on Thursday (September 8), Platt was lead director of Boeing, helping to ensure the independent role of the company. Platt had been a member of Boeing’s board since 1999. He served as non-executive chairman from December 2003 through June 2005.

Platt was a retired chairman of the board, president and CEO of HP. He joined HP in 1966 in the medical products operations and went on to manage various parts of HP’s computer business. He became an executive vice president in 1987 and retired in 1999 after serving 7 years as chairman, CEO and president of HP.

He was the CEO of Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates from 2000 to mid-2001.

In 1995, he served on President Clinton's Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations and served as chairman of the World Trade Organization Task Force. He served as a trustee of The Packard Foundation.

Platt earned a mechanical engineering degree from Cornell University in 1964 and a master’s degree in business administration from Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania in 1966. He had an honorary Doctorate from Santa Clara University in Engineering Science.

“I am deeply saddened by Lew's untimely death, and I speak for all Boeing directors and employees in extending our deepest sympathy to his family,” said Jim McNerney, Boeing chairman, president and chief executive, in a statement.

“Lew shepherded Boeing with strength, grace, dignity and integrity through a period when the company most needed his steady hand. He was a compassionate man who put his own retirement and personal plans on the back burner to ensure that Boeing never missed a beat through its recent recovery,” he said.

Mark Hurd, HP president and chief executive, said: "Lew cared deeply for HP and its people, and his loss is being felt widely across our company. He was a natural leader who was enormously well liked and made an enduring impression on those he encountered. The way he treated people and how he ran the company set an exceptionally high standard of personal decency."

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