David Packard was born on 7th September 1912 in Pueblo in Colorado and became a billionaire by co-founding Hewlett-Packard, a technology corporation in 1939. He served as the company’s President from 1947 to 1964, as the company’s CEO from 1964 to 1968, and as the Chairman of the Board from 1964 to 1968 and 1972 to 1993. He also served as the U.S. Secretary of Defence from 1969 to 1971 at the time that Nixon was President.
Packard went to Centennial High School and in 1934 got a Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University. He also went to the University of Colorado but then quit as he got a job in Schenectady in New York at the General Electric Company. He went back to Stanford in 1938 and got a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering, along with marrying Lucile Salter who he had met when he first attended Stanford.
In 1939, along with Hewlett who like Lucile he met when he first attended Stanford, he founded Hewlett-Packard (HP) in Packard’s garage with a starting $538 investment. They decided on HP rather than PH by flipping of a coin. The product they made and sold was the sound oscillator used in Walt Disney’s Fantasia. During the Second War World the company made radio, radar, sonar, aviation and nautical devices.
The company became the biggest producer of electrical measurement and testing devices through Packard’s role as a brilliant administrator and through Hewitt’s various new technological advances. It also went on to become a key producer of computers, calculators, laser printers and inkjet printers.
HP became a corporation in 1947 when Packard became the company’s first President. He left the company in 1969 to work under Nixon’s administration up until 1971 when he came back to the company and oversaw major reorganisation. He retired in 1993.
In 1978 he created the Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation and donated around $55 million in total to build an aquarium which opened in 1984. He also donated $13 million to create the Monterey bay Aquarium Research Institute. In 1964 with his wife he founded the David and Lucile Packard Foundation which now provides 90% of the Institute’s operating budget.
He and his wife Lucile had four children together called David, Nancy, Susan and Julie. Lucile died in 1987 and Packard died on 26th March 1996 at the age of 83. At this time his company was worth over $1 billion.
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