TI CEO Junkins Dies; Vice Chairman Weber Named Acting CEO
DALLAS (AP) _ Jerry R. Junkins, who became chief executive officer of Texas Instruments Inc. 11 years ago and reshaped it in the face of global competition and military cutbacks, died of a heart attack during a business trip to Europe.
Junkins, who was 58, died Wednesday. He spent his entire career at the huge electronics and defense firm, rising from parts clerk to CEO in 1985 and chairman in 1988.
TI’s board of directors designated William ``Pat″ Weber to act as president and CEO while the board works through the process of naming a successor.
The company established an office of the chief executive in 1993, comprising Junkins and vice chairmen Weber and William B. Mitchell. The two will continue working together in the office of the chief executive.
Weber, who joined TI in 1962, has been a member of the board since 1984. Before joining the office of the chief executive, he was president of the company’s largest business, semiconductors.
Junkins took over the company during a period of declining sales and losses because of international competition in computer chips. After a successful turnaround, more trouble came as the United States sharply cut military spending.
Junkins simultaneously scaled back defense manufacturing, eliminating about 20,000 of 78,000 jobs. The company, which had losses in 1990 and 1991, returned to profitability in 1992 and has grown sharply since on a boom in computer chip demand.
``Jerry took over TI at a very difficult time and, through a very steady and straightforward leadership style, rejuvenated it,″ said Andy Grove, chief executive officer of Intel Corp., the largest computer chip firm. ``I had great respect for him and held him in the highest regard.″
During Junkins’ tenure, TI’s annual sales doubled from about $6 billion to more than $13 billion. It is now the world’s seventh-largest maker of computer chips.
Its stock price, which traded as low as $15 in 1991, jumped to more than $90 last year but has declined since because of a rapid drop in memory chip prices. On Wednesday, the stock fell $1 a share to $53.62 1/2 on the New York Stock Exchange, and it rose 87 1/2 cents to $54.50 in early trading today.
Junkins had been traveling by car on a business trip in Stuttgart, Germany, when he had the heart attack about midday. He was taken to a hospital by his traveling companions.
``He was in Europe to meet with customers and employees of our European operations,″ said company spokeswoman Terri West. She said he had no history of heart trouble.
Junkins brought a more relaxed style to the top job at TI than his immediate predecessors J. Fred Bucy and Mark Shepherd. But he faced criticism during the lean times for relying on other factors besides seniority in determining job cuts.
Junkins became president and chief executive upon Bucy’s resignation. He was also a trustee at Southern Methodist University and a director at Caterpillar, Procter & Gamble and 3M.
He is survived by his wife, Sally, two daughters and a granddaughter.