Galvin, Robert W.

Galvin, Robert W. (William)

(1922–  ) electronics executive; born in Marshfield, Wis. (son of Paul V. Galvin). The son of Motorola's founder, he joined the firm at age 18 as a stockroom apprentice and spent the rest of his career there. Named executive-vice president (1949) and president (1956), CEO (1964–86), and chairman (1964–90), he masterminded Motorola's revival as a company known for innovation and quality products. He adeptly responded to heightened foreign competition after the 1970s by selling aging product lines such as television and car radios to concentrate on new ones like cellular telephones; concentrating on high technology areas such as semiconductors and microprocessors; moving production offshore; and establishing joint ventures with foreign firms. As an executive he was known for his egalitarian style, decentralized management structure, and commitment to profit-sharing. At the same time he was a vociferous proponent of protective tariffs on imported manufactured goods and was a major player in the semiconductor trade agreement (1986) which opened the Japanese market to U.S. manufacturers.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.