Robert James Eaton
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Eaton was born in Buena Vista, Colorado and grew up in Arkansas City, Kansas. He graduated with a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Kansas in 1963. He was in the Kappa Sigma Fraternity.
Upon graduation he joined General Motors and in 1973 he was made chief engineer of GM's new front wheel drive X-body cars. In 1982 he was promoted to vice-president of advanced engineering before being named president of GM Europe in 1988. It was here that Chrysler Corporation CEO Lee Iacocca found Eaton and hired him to be his successor as CEO. This was controversial at the time, because Bob Lutz was the expected successor to the CEO position, and Iacocca later indicated that he indeed felt that Lutz would have been the better choice as his successor.
He was a chairman of the National Academy of Engineering. He was elected a director of Chevron in September 2000. He has been on the board of International Paper. He is a trustee of the University of Kansas Endowment Association. As of 2003[update], he lives in Naples, Florida, with his wife, Connie.
- 1994 Distinguished Service Citation from the University of Kansas Alumni Association.
- 1994 Man of the Year from the Kappa Sigma Fraternity.
- 1995 Distinguished Engineering Service Award from the University of Kansas School of Engineering.
- 2005 Inducted into the Kansas Business Hall of Fame
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