Lewis "Lew" Platt, a director and former chairman of Boeing who also served as chief executive at Hewlett-Packard in the 1990s, has died...
CHICAGO — Lewis “Lew” Platt, a director and former chairman of Boeing who also served as chief executive at Hewlett-Packard in the 1990s, has died, Boeing said yesterday. He was 64.
Mr. Platt died Thursday in California, where he lived, Boeing spokesman John Dern said. He provided no further details.
Mr. Platt, who joined the Boeing board in 1999, was thrust into a visible role at the company as it worked to overcome ethical lapses. He became nonexecutive chairman when CEO Phil Condit abruptly resigned in December 2003 amid defense-contracting scandals that ultimately sent two executives to jail.
Mr. Platt’s efforts to restore order at the company were dealt a setback in March, when former CEO Harry Stonecipher — appointed to help repair Boeing’s image — resigned after admitting an affair with a female Boeing executive.
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After Stonecipher left, Mr. Platt supported an aggressive airliner-sales campaign at Boeing, traveling abroad to clinch deals.
He served as nonexecutive chairman until W. James McNerney was appointed chairman and CEO in June. Mr. Platt, who remained on Boeing’s board, was credited with persuading McNerney to take the job after he originally turned it down in a public statement.
“Lew shepherded Boeing with strength, grace, dignity and integrity through a period when the company most needed his steady hand,” McNerney said in a statement yesterday.
Mr. Platt ran Hewlett-Packard from 1992 to 1999, overseeing the split of the world’s second-largest computer company into two separate firms, HP and Agilent Technologies.
He decided to step down as part of HP’s restructuring and was replaced by Carly Fiorina, who was ousted earlier this year.
Mr. Platt worked at HP for 33 years, starting as an entry-level employee in the company’s medical-products group in 1966. Shortly after his appointment as CEO in 1992, he succeeded David Packard as HP’s chairman, serving until he left the company in 1999.
“Lew cared deeply for HP and its people, and his loss is being felt widely across our company,” said Mark Hurd, HP’s president and CEO, in a statement yesterday. “He was a natural leader who was enormously well liked and made an enduring impression on those he encountered.”
After leaving HP, Mr. Platt served as CEO of Kendall Jackson Wine Estates until 2001.
Information from Bloomberg News is included in this report.