William Weisz, a life member of the Corporation and the retired chairman and CEO of Motorola, Inc., died on December 17 at his home in Phoenix, AZ, of an apparent heart attack. He was 70.
Mr. Weisz attended MIT on a scholarship and received the SB in electrical engineering in 1948. He and his wife Barbara established an undergraduate scholarship fund in their names in 1977.
Mr. Weisz joined Motorola as a junior development engineer in 1948. Among his earliest projects was the Handi-Talkie Radiophone. He became company president in 1970 at the age of 43. Over the next 20 years, he was part of the team that led Motorola's transformation from a relatively small computer electronics company into the world's largest supplier of equipment for cellular telephones, paging and two-way radios.
At Motorola, Mr. Weisz became chief operating officer in 1972, vice chairman of the board of directors in 1980 and chief executive officer in 1986. After retiring in 1989, he was named chairman of the board in 1993.
As well as serving on the MIT Corporation, Mr. Weisz was 1997-98 chairman of the Visiting Committee for the Sloan School. He has served on that panel several times in the past, as well as on the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Visiting Committee, the Development Committee and the Investment Committee. He gave a talk at MIT entitled "Leadership in a Dynamic Environment" on December 4, 1997.
Mr. Weisz was a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers since 1966, and he received the Electronic Industries Association Medal of Honor in 1981.
A funeral service for Mr. Weisz was held on December 22 in Wilmette, IL. He was buried at the Memorial Park Cemetery in Skokie, IL. He is survived by his wife Barbara, three children and four grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made to the the WIlliam J. and Barbara B. Weisz Scholarship, c/o Recording Secretary, 238 Main St., Suite 200, Cambridge, MA 02142, or to the American Heart Association, 208 South LaSalle, Suite 900, Chicago, IL 60604.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on January 7, 1998.