Former Motorola CEO Bob Galvin Dead At 89

Robert Galvin, who led Motorola as chief executive officer for nearly three decades and oversaw the introduction of the first cell phone prototype, died this week at 89.

Galvin died Oct. 11 in Chicago of natural causes, according to news reports.

He was appointed CEO in 1959 following the death of his father, Paul Galvin, who founded the company in 1928. Robert Galvin, known as Bob, served as CEO until 1986 and as chairman until 1990. He retired from Motorola's board in 2001.

"We are greatly saddened by the loss of Bob Galvin," Motorola Mobility said in a statement. "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."

Sanjay Jha, chairman and CEO, Motorola Mobility, commented, "On Oct. 11, 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."

Motorola split into two separate companies effective Jan. 4, 2011: Motorola Mobility combined the cable set-top and video infrastructure business with the mobile devices group, and Motorola Solutions merged the enterprise and government communications business units.

Google in August announced plans to acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in cash, with the Internet giant primarily looking to obtain the rights to its 17,000-plus patent portfolio.

Greg Brown, chairman and CEO of Motorola Solutions, also paid tribute to Galvin.

"He was a humble, visionary leader whose fingerprints are forever linked to the 83-year history of our great company," Brown said. "Bob brought us to new heights of innovation and global success. He was forward-thinking, savvy and perhaps most important -- he was a humanitarian who believed strongly that each individual deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. We will certainly miss Bob and what he meant to Motorola and our employee family."