Campbell, Lewis B. 1946–

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Lewis B. Campbell

Chairman, chief executive officer, and president, Textron

Nationality: American.

Born: 1946, in Winchester, Virginia.

Education: Duke University, BSE, 1968.

Family: Married Mary (maiden name unknown); children: three.

Career: General Motors, 19681988, various management positions, including general manager of the Flint automobile division, Buick-Oldsmobile-Cadillac Group, and the GMC Truck Division; 19881992, vice president; Textron, 19921994, executive vice president and COO; 19941998, president; 1998, CEO and president; 19992001, chairman and CEO; 2001, chairman, CEO, and president.

Awards: America's Most Powerful People, Forbes.

Address: Textron, 40 Westminster Street, Providence, Rhode Island 02903;

Lewis B. Campbell first distinguished himself at General Motors Corporation (GM), where he held a number of top management positions over a 24-year period. His overall experience in market-driven business at GM was broad enough for him to be able to transfer his abilities to the nonautomotive sector; after joining Textron as chief operating officer Campbell played a key role in reshaping the company and cleaning out its attic full of acquisitions.

Textron was founded in 1923 as a traditional holding company, purchasing and selling other companies for investment purposes. In his executive capacity at Textron, Campbell led the Transformation Leadership Team, developing a more focused group of core businesses that could better contribute their respective parts toward the betterment of the whole. By the mid-2000s Textron had become a $10 billion company with over 40,000 employees worldwide. Its diversified holdings included familiar brand names such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna aircraft, and E-Z-Go golf carts.


Born in 1946, Campbell eventually received a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Duke University and became a young management intern at General Motors. He attended the Advanced General Management Program sponsored by GM and was sent to Switzerland to attend the Harvard International School. On the automotive fast trackliterally and figurativelyover the next 24 years Campbell mastered management responsibilities in various aspects of manufacturing for the Buick-Oldsmobile-Cadillac Group, as well as for the Chevrolet-Pontiac and GMC Truck Divisions. As general manager of the Flint Automotive Group, Campbell was named a corporate vice president at GM in 1988.


Elsewhere James Hardymon had joined Textron in 1989 as the company's new president, having served for 28 years with Emerson Electric. His vision was to design a focused company that would produce consistent growth in a more well-directed fashion. After being named chairman and chief executive officer in 1992, Hardymon recruited Campbell to come aboard as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Both men shared a vision with regard to where they wanted to take Textron and how they needed to get there.


In 1992 Textron acquired Cessna Aircraft. A market leader in the production of light and medium commercial jets, Cessna complimented Textron's defense-related Bell Helicopter business. Throughout the 1990s Campbell and Hardymon divested Textron of noncore businessesincluding military contracting, insurance, and consumer productsand with the raised capital acquired more suitable core businesses, whether aircraft, automotive, industrial, or finance related. Such moves strengthened Campbell and Hardymon's objective to develop complimentary divisions that would all contribute toward Textron's growth.

In 1994 Campbell was elected president of Textron; in 1998 he was appointed chief executive officer and was slated to take over Hardymon's position as chairman in 1999. By that time the two men had succeeded in reshaping Textron's portfolio such that 100 percent of its revenues were generated from core businesses. They had also doubled their company's revenue percentages from non-U.S. operations.


In 1999, following Hardymon's retirement, the CEO Campbell added the title of chairman and relinquished the presidency, as had been planned. Determined to maintain the momentum achieved by his predecessor, Campbell played a key role in developing not only corporate strategy but also cohesive management teams. He was chairman of Textron's Management Committee, which comprised the top six executives of the corporation. The committee forged ahead with refinement plans, earmarking top personnel, reshaping the business portfolio, and organizing the company into complimentary enterprise synergies.

Already recognized for his good judgment and high integrity, Campbell regained the additional title of president in 2001. He continued to build on his vision of better fostering Textron's inter- and intrabusiness relations. Satisfied with restricting core operations to four key groups, he turned his attention inward, cleaning up shop and maximizing existing potential rather than acquiring new businesses with merely speculative potential. He increased the number of personnel transfers and promotions between segments and began to standardize compensation and performance tracking across the board.


Campbell's legacy with Textron was the role he played in integrating and transforming the corporation from a large holding company with a portfolio of unrelated businesses from which it hoped to gain profits to a well-structured parent with four core businesses as progeny. The independent businesses all contributed to the whole and operated more like divisions than separate companies. This unification facilitated the movement of key management personnel between businesses and the commutative leveraging of profits and losses.

See also entry on Textron Inc. in International Directory of Company Histories.

sources for further information

Campbell, Lewis B., "CEO Outlines the Acquisition Strategy for Textron," interview in Wall Street Transcript, November 30, 2000,

Gilman, Xandy, "Alumni Profiles: Lewis Campbell," Duke Univerity, Pratt School of Engineering,

"History," Company Profile,

"Lewis B. Campbell," Biographies,

Nelson, Brett, "The Soul of a New Machine," Forbes, June 11, 2001, p. 66.

Lauri R. Harding

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Campbell, Lewis B. 1946–

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