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Bill Hewlett

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Bill Hewlett

William Redington Hewlett
Born (1913-05-20)May 20, 1913
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Died January 12, 2001(2001-01-12) (aged 87)
Palo Alto, California
Alma mater Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Known for Hewlett-Packard Company (HP)
Spouse(s) Flora Lamson Hewlett (1939)
Children Eleanor, Walter, James, William and Mary

William "Bill" Redington Hewlett (May 20, 1913 – January 12, 2001) was an engineer and the co-founder, with David Packard, of the Hewlett-Packard Company (HP).

Early life and education

Hewlett was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan where his father taught at the University of Michigan Medical School. In 1916 the family moved to San Francisco after his father, Albion Walter Hewlett, took a similar position at Stanford Medical School, located at the time in San Francisco. He attended Lowell High School and was accepted at Stanford University as a favor to his late father who had died of a brain tumor in 1925.[1]

Hewlett received his Bachelor's degree from Stanford University in 1934, a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering from MIT in 1936, and the degree of Electrical Engineer from Stanford in 1939. He joined the Kappa Sigma fraternity during his time at Stanford. In 1999, the William R. Hewlett Teaching Center at Stanford was named in his honor. The building is located in the Science and Engineering Quad, adjacent to the David Packard Electrical Engineering Building.[2]


Hewlett attended undergraduate classes taught by Fred Terman at Stanford and became acquainted with David Packard. He and Packard began discussing forming a company in August 1937, and founded Hewlett-Packard Company as a partnership on January 1, 1939. A flip of a coin decided the ordering of their names.[3] The company incorporated in 1947 and tendered an initial public offering in 1957.[1] Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard were very proud of their company culture which came to be known as the HP Way. The HP Way was a corporate culture that was not only centered on making money but respected and nurtured its employees. Hewlett was president of the Institute of Radio Engineers in 1954.[4] Also in 1939 he married Flora Lamson Hewlett, and the couple eventually had 5 children: Eleanor, Walter, James, William and Mary. There are 12 grandchildren.

He was president of HP from 1964 to 1977, and served as CEO from 1968 to 1978, when he was succeeded by John A. Young. He remained chairman of the executive committee until 1983, and then served as vice chairman of the board until 1987.

A young Steve Jobs, then aged 12,[5] had called up Hewlett requesting a part for a frequency counter that he was building. Hewlett was impressed with Jobs' gumption and offered him a summer job. [6] Jobs then considered HP one of the companies that he admired, regarding it among the handful of companies (Disney and Intel were the others) that were built “to last, not just to make money”. [7]

Personal life

In 1966, Hewlett and his wife founded the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Flora Lamson Hewlett died in 1977. In 1978, Hewlett married Rosemary Bradford Hewlett.

He died of heart failure in Palo Alto, California, on January 12, 2001, and was interred at Los Gatos Memorial Park, San Jose, California.



External links

Biography portal
  • by Bob Lewis (InfoWorld, January 22, 2001)
  • Thoemmes Encyclopedia article on William Hewlett
  • Official biography at HP website
  • Official biography at Hewlett Foundation website
  • The HP Way
  • Find a Grave
  • National Academy of Sciences Biographical Memoir
Business positions
Preceded by
David Packard
President of Hewlett-Packard
Succeeded by
John A. Young
Chief Executive Officer of Hewlett-Packard

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