David Packard (David Packard)

David Packard

In 1939, David Packard and Hewlett established Hewlett-Packard (HP) in Packard’s garage with an initial capital investment of $538 (approx, adjusted to today $9,000 in 2015). Packard mentions in his book The HP Way that the name Hewlett-Packard was determined by the flip of a coin: HP, rather than PH. Their first product was an audio frequency oscillator sold to Walt Disney Studios for use on the soundtrack of Fantasia. The HP Way describes HP’s management philosophy, which encourages creativity and shuns traditional business hierarchy and formality. During World War II HP produced radio, sonar, radar, nautical, and aviation devices. The company, where Packard proved to be an expert administrator and Hewlett provided many technical innovations, grew into the world’s largest producer of electronic testing and measurement devices. It also became a major producer of calculators, computers, and laser and ink jet printers. HP incorporated in 1947, with Packard becoming its first president, serving in that role until 1964; he was then elected Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board, holding these positions through 1968. He left HP in 1969 to serve in the Nixon administration until 1971, at which time he returned to HP and was re-elected Chairman of the Board, serving from 1972 to 1993. In 1991, Packard oversaw a major reorganization at HP. He retired from HP in 1993. At the time of his death in 1996, Packard’s stake in the company was worth more than $1 billion. He also worked with one of his close friends, Bill Hewlett. This is their official company website

From the early 1980s until his death in 1996, David Packard dedicated much of his time and money to philanthropic projects. Prompted by his daughters Nancy Packard Burnett and Julie Packard, in 1978 Dave and Lucile Packard created the Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation. The couple eventually donated $55 million to build the new aquarium, which opened in 1984 with Julie Packard as executive director. In 1987, Packard gave $13 million to create the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation has since provided about 90% of the Institute’s operating budget. In 1964, the couple founded the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. In 1986, they donated $40 million toward building what became the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University; the new hospital opened in June 1991. Packard and Hewlett made a combined donation of $77 million to Stanford in 1994, for which the university named the David Packard Electrical Engineering Building in his honor. The building is located adjacent to the William Hewlett Teaching Center. David Packard was a member of the American Enterprise Institute’s board of trustees. He died on March 26, 1996 at age 83 in Stanford, California, leaving approximately $4 billion (the bulk of his estate) to the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, including large amounts of valuable real property in Los Altos Hills. All three Packard daughters sit on the Foundation’s board of trustees. David Woodley Packard, his son, currently serves as president of the Packard Humanities Institute.

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  • September, 07, 1912
  • USA
  • Pueblo, Colorado


  • March, 03, 1996
  • USA
  • Stanford, California


  • Alta Mesa Memorial Park
  • Palo Alto, California
  • USA

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