Elliott Estes, Former GM President, Dead At 72
CHICAGO (AP) _ Elliott ″Pete″ Estes, who rose from a junior engineer at General Motors Corp. to retire as its president, suffered an apparent heart attack Thursday and died, officials said.
Estes, 72, who resided in Paradise Valley, Ariz., served as GM’s president and chief operating officer from 1974 until his retirement in 1981.
Estes collapsed at O’Hare International Airport and was pronounced dead on arrival at Resurrection Hospital at 2:35 p.m., officials said.
He was named executive vice president for operations staff in 1972 and was elected president by the company’s board of directors on Sept. 30, 1974.
A native of Mendon, Mich., Estes began a lifetime relationship with GM in 1934 when he enrolled at General Motors Institute in Flint, Mich. He joined GM Research Laboratories as a cooperative student while at the institute.
Estes became a research engineer with GM in 1939, the year before he graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in mechanical engineering. In 1946, Estes joined the Oldsmobile Division in Lansing, Mich.
Estes’ climb up the corporate ladder was accelerated in November 1961 when he was elected a GM vice president and general manager of the Pontiac Motor Divison. In 1965, he became general manager of the Chevrolet Motor Division.