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Former HP boss Platt dies

The last of the engineer leaders

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Former HP boss Lew Platt has died suddenly aged 64. Platt will be remembered as the last of HP's engineer managers: he joined HP as an engineer in 1966 with a technical degree from Cornell and an MBA from Wharton, and rose through the ranks.

After the crisis at the turn of the 1990s which saw David Packard return to a hands on role at the top, Platt took the helm, becoming CEO in 1992 and adding the role of chairman the following year. During his tenure, HP eclipsed DEC as the No.2 computer manufacturer.

Platt set in motion the Agilent spin-off which was executed by his successor Carly Fiorina.

Reflecting on his tenure, Platt told Business Week, "I happen to like one of [Sun Microsystems CEO] Scott McNealy's quotes quite a lot. He's said there's two kinds of companies -- the quick and the dead. I don't like everything Scott says, but he's right about that."

"When people look at the Lew Platt era in the annual report, it's going to look pretty good."

Platt was serving as lead director of Boeing and had completed an 18-month stint as non-executive chairman in June. ®

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