Robert W. Galvin took the reins of Motorola from his father and transformed a family-run business that pioneered Depression-era car radios and wartime walkie-talkies into a global producer of color television sets, cellphones and radios, among many other electronic items we rely on daily. During the three decades Galvin served as president, annual sales leaped from $290 million to $10.8 billion.
“If it’s intuitive, it’s probably wrong,” Galvin is quoted as saying. “The absolutely distinguishing quality of a leader is that a leader takes us elsewhere.” Galvin’s foresight was behind a company that forged trends in radio, television and integrated circuits for computers, and sent communication devices to Mars aboard Viking probes and to the Moon on manned rockets.
Under Galvin’s leadership, Motorola produced the first hand-held mobile phone in 1973. Throughout his career, Galvin made crucial investments in cellular R&D, never wavering in his belief that cellular technology would revolutionize the way people communicated. And he was right.