David Packard, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard Inc., patriarch of Silicon Valley and one of the most influential figures in all of American business, died Tuesday of pneumonia. He was 83.
Packard died at Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, Calif., surrounded by his four children. He had been hospitalized since March 16.
From humble beginnings in a Palo Alto garage 57 years ago, Packard and his partner, Bill Hewlett, built a company whose technical competence, innovative management practices and consistent commercial success was an inspiration to generations of high-technology entrepreneurs.
Packard ideas such as “management by walking around” and “management by objective” are staples of business schools the world over. And Hewlett-Packard has maintained a leadership role in the electronics industry even as many longtime rivals proved unable to keep up with fast-changing technologies.
Packard also made his mark in politics, serving three years as deputy secretary of defense under President Nixon. And he was a major philanthropist, supporting projects ranging from the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, Calif., to Stanford University’s Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital.
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, with reported assets of $2.3 billion, last year distributed $116 million to more than 700 recipients. All of Packard’s 9.1 percent or 46.6 million shares of Hewlett-Packard will go to the foundation.
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