Christopher Galvin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Christopher B. Galvin
BornMarch 21, 1950
Alma materNorthwestern University
Known forCEO Motorola, Inc., Co-founder Harrison Street Capital LLC
Children2 sons

Christopher B. Galvin (born March 21, 1950) is an American businessman. He served as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Motorola from 1997 to 2003.


Early life[edit]

Christopher Galvin is the grandson of Paul Galvin, the founder of Motorola, and the son of Robert Galvin, who served as CEO of Motorola from 1959 to 1990. He received his BS in Political Science from Northwestern University and his M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.[1]



From 1967 to 1973, during college, Galvin held part-time summer assignments at Motorola. From 1973-1983, he served full-time positions in sales, sales management, marketing management and mobile two-way radio product management, taking leave 1975-77 to attend graduate business school full-time. From 1983 to 1985, he became Marketing Director then General Manager of the Tegal semiconductor equipment unit owned by Motorola Inc. In 1985, he became Vice-President and Director of Motorola’s radio paging Division where he sponsored the team that created one of the first virtually completely automated manufacturing operations in the US, called Project Bandit. Galvin was promoted to Corporate Vice-President and General Manager of Paging. In 1988, he was named Chief Corporate Staff Officer of the corporation, later Senior Vice President and appointed to the Policy and Operating Committees of Motorola Inc. In 1990, he was promoted to Assistant Chief Operating Officer and joined as the third member of the Office of the CEO of Motorola Inc. In 1993, he was elevated to President and Chief Operating Officer. In 1997, he became CEO. In 1999, he added the role of Chairman of the Board to that of CEO.[2]

Following the crash in 2000, he led a massive three-year restructuring of Motorola that included large lay-offs, closure of manufacturing facilities and reducing break-even costs.[3] Simultaneously, Galvin led the renewal of Six Sigma Quality through Digital Six Sigma and introduced Motorola’s MOTO language advertising campaign in 2002.[3] The RAZR cellular phone was designed by Galvin’s innovators in new product development methodologies created during the 2001-2003 timeframe. RAZR was introduced July 27, 2004.[4] The innovation behind the RAZR was so cutting edge that even Galvin's eventual successor, Ed Zander, stated “There was a small team developing the RAZR before I got there. When I saw the technology, it blew me away.”[5]

On September 19, 2003, the Board of Directors announced publicly it would seek another CEO.[6] Galvin stated his objection to the Board’s view of Galvin’s turnaround efforts, and stated, "The Board and I do not share the same view of the pace, strategy and progress at this stage of the turnaround.”[7]

Sixteen working days later, on October 13, 2003 Motorola Inc. reported that its global customer new product orders were up 25% company-wide and up 44% for cellular mobile phones in Q3 2003 compared to Q3 2002. Similarly, on January 20, 2004 Motorola Inc. reported on Galvin's last full quarter serving as CEO and the quarter of the Board's search for a new CEO, Q4 2003, that Motorola's collection of global telecom, semiconductor, automotive, broadband-media and public safety customers increased new product line orders by 42% and by 64% in their cellular mobile phone business compared to Q4 2002.[8]

He was forced to resign on January 4, 2004.[9] Seventy-seven working days later, on April 20, 2004, Motorola announced its financial performance for Q1, 2004, the quarter of Galvin's departure. The data showed that the then $30 billion run rate in annual revenue resulted in a 42% increase in sales corporatewide revenue growth, a 532% improvement in operating earnings, $0.9B in pre-tax earnings, $0.7B in free cash flow, and a resulting $0.9B net cash position on the balance sheet.[10] Motorola Inc.’s cellular mobile phone business recorded an uptick of 67% sales revenue growth ($4.1B in quarterly sales) and earned a 9.8% operating margin for the period, three months before the RAZR phone was to be announced.[11] At the time Motorola Inc.’s business portfolio included four Fortune 500 sized multi-billion business sectors compared to its six business sectors at the time.[10] Zander, who assumed the CEO role on January 5, 2004, stated after the announcement of Q1 2004 financial results "The first 90 days I talked to everybody. My agenda was very simple: learning the business as fast as I could. I did not want to shoot from the hip."[12]

The following quarter, the financial performance initiated by Galvin proved sustainable and repeatable. On July 20, 2004, Motorola reported Q2 2004 results of increased sales revenue growth by 41% to $8.7B, an improvement in operating earnings by 394%, $800 M in pre-tax earnings, $800 M in free cash flow, and a $1.8B net cash position on the balance sheet. The cellular mobile phone business recorded an increased sales revenue growth of 67%, equating to $3.9B in quarterly sales while maintaining a 10.2% operating margin.[13]

In 2008, several years after Galvin's departure, a study was completed by the Monitor-Global Business Network consulting company to identify and compare the best + $5B in revenue global high tech corporate turnarounds since 1990. In comparing six-year periods including three years of turnaround actions and the corresponding companies’ resulting financial performance, the study placed Galvin’s turnaround of Motorola as one of the top five large high tech turnarounds. The companies compared were IBM, Apple, Xerox, HP and Motorola.[14]

In 2010, he was featured in the Andrea Redmond book Comebacks: Powerful Lessons from Leaders Who Endured Setbacks and Recaptured Success on Their Terms (ISBN 978-0470583753), which details his unplanned departure from Motorola, and how he responded.

In 2014 Alan Murray, Deputy Managing Editor and Executive Editor, Online for The Wall Street Journal, posted his review of “Boards that Lead”, published by Harvard Business Review Press. The authors were Ram Charan, business advisor, Dennis Carey, Vice Chairman of Korn Ferry, and Michael Useem, professor at the Wharton Business School. Mr. Murray wrote, “Not all the book’s examples are success stories. Inevitably, Messrs. Charan, Carey and Useem devote a few pages to monumental failures. The authors tell the story of the board of Motorola Inc., which the authors blame for destroying the company. In 2004, it pushed out CEO Christopher Galvin (a grandson of the founder) just as his strategy was starting to deliver success, then replaced him with CEOs who enjoyed some early successes based on Mr. Galvin’s efforts, and then presided over the company’s decline and breakup.” [15] The authors attribute this blunder to not backing a bet on solid technology or strategy, of which investment in technology had been the heart and soul of the Motorola culture, and having a reflexive response to the demands of investors, some of whom where short-term traders.[16]


After departing Motorola, he served as Chairman of Navteq Inc. (2004–2008). In mid-2004 Navteq Inc. went public with an IPO. In July 2008, Navteq closed a $8.1B gross cash sale to Nokia generating a positive 255% return to shareholders in at the time of Navteq's IPO.[17]


Prior to Cleversafe's sale to IBM in late 2015, Mr. Galvin was Chairman of Cleversafe Inc., a digital storage company. IBM paid more than $1.3 billion in cash acquire Cleversafe Inc., thereby adding data-storage software that works for both public and private cloud-computing systems. This was IBM's largest deal in 2015. [18]

Harrison Street Capital[edit]

In 2005, he co-founded Harrison Street Real Estate Capital LLC, a real estate private equity firm, with his brother Michael P. Galvin and Christopher N. Merrill. Harrison Street Real Estate has launched a series of focused and differentiated closed-end opportunity funds. The Company’s focus is investing in sectors of the real estate market that have their own compelling demand generators. These sectors include: Education, Healthcare and Storage, focusing specifically on Senior Living, Student Housing, Medical Office and Self Storage. The firm's goal is to create a series of differentiated investment products that span the risk/return spectrum. Harrison Street has 85+ employees and is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. As of Q1 2016 the firm and its affiliates manage approximately $10.4 billion in property assets and publicly traded securities through multiple investment vehicles on behalf of Sovereign Wealth Funds, Public & Corporate Pension Funds, Endowments, Insurance Companies, Foundations and Family Offices. In July 2018, Colliers International acquired Galvin's stake in the business.[19][20]

Miscellaneous business ventures[edit]

He serves as Executive Chairman and Co-Founder of UniqueSoft Inc. a software company that uses highly automated tools and processes to transform legacy code into maintainable, high performance solutions,[21] as well as sits on the Board of Directors of MCR Inc.,[22] a Harrison Street Capital LLC financed roll-up in US Department of Defense services. He is a member of Colliers International's Board of Directors. [23]

He has served as a member of the Board of Counselors of the Bechtel Corporation.


He sits on the Board of Trustees of his alma mater, Northwestern University, the Tsinghua University School of Management and Economics in Beijing, the American Enterprise Institute, The Business Council, the American Society of Corporate Executives, and the Chicago Council of Global Affairs.[24] He serves as Chair of the Rhodes Scholars selection committee for Illinois-Michigan. He has served as Chairman of the U.S.-China Business Council. He has also served on the Boards of the Rand Corporation, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Defense Science Board. He has been an Advisor to the City of Tianjin, China, the CEO of Hong Kong, and the Searle Family Trust. In 2004, he co-founded The Galvin Projects, a virtual global think tank that published three books (2008–09).


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Motorola Inc. Press Releases 2000-2003
  4. ^ Motorola Inc. Press Release July 27, 2004 Introducing the Motorola RAZR V3 Source
  5. ^ Kevin Maney (2007-11-19). "On the Razr's Edge". Bizjournals.
  6. ^ Motorola Inc. News Releases, Q3 2003 September 19, 2003 Motorola Announces Chris Galvin’s Decision to Retire as Chairman and CEO
  7. ^ Kevin Maney; USA TODAY; September 22, 2003 Motorola expected to seek outsider; Harsh words follow CEO's resignation
  8. ^ Motorola Inc. October 13, 2003 Earnings Press Release Archived March 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ "Motorola Announces Appointment of Edward J. Zander as Chairman and CEO". PRNewswire. December 16, 2003.
  10. ^ a b Motorola Inc. April 20, 2004 Earnings Press Release
  11. ^ Motorola Inc. Press Release July 27, 2004 Introducing the Motorola RAZR V3
  12. ^ Barbara Rose (April 25, 2004). "Change ladled out to a thirsty Motorola". Chicago Tribune.
  13. ^ Motorola Inc. July 20, 2004 Earnings Press Release Archived March 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ Study completed by Peter Schwartz, Chairman, Monitor-GBN
  15. ^ Alan Murray, “Book Review: ‘Boards That Lead,’ by Ram Charan, Dennis Carey and Michael Useem”, The Wall Street Journal, January 15, 2014.
  16. ^ Ram Charan, Dennis Carey, and Michael Useem, Boards that Lead, (Harvard Business Review, 2013), 156-161.
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ American Enterprise Institute Board of Trustees

External links[edit]

Business positions
Preceded by
Gary L. Tooker
CEO of Motorola
Succeeded by
Edward Zander