Lewis Platt, a director and former chairman of Boeing, who also served as chief executive at Hewlett-Packard in the 1990s, has died, Boeing said Friday. He was 64.
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 today. He was 64.
Platt died Thursday in California, where he lived, Boeing spokesman John Dern said. He provided no further details.
Platt became non-executive chairman of the aerospace and defense company’s board after former CEO Phil Condit’s departure in December 2003 and served until W. James McNerney was appointed chairman and CEO in June. Platt remained on the Chicago-based company’s board, where he had served since 1999.
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 Inc. He decided to step down as part of HP’s restructuring and was replaced by Carly Fiorina, who was ousted earlier this year.
Platt was thrust into a visible role at Boeing as the company worked to overcome ethical lapses. He became chairman when Condit abruptly resigned amid defense contracting scandals that ultimately sent two executives to jail.
His 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.
“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.
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 today. “He was a natural leader who was enormously well liked and made an enduring impression on those he encountered.”
After leaving HP, Platt served as CEO of Kendall Jackson Wine Estates Ltd. until 2001.