Richard Egan, EMC Co-Founder Dies

Egan parlayed an engineering degree into storage giant EMC, the largest technology company in New England.

William Gardner

August 31, 2009

2 Min Read
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Roger Baker
Richard J. Egan

The co-founder of computer storage powerhouse EMC, Richard J. Egan, has died nearly 30 years from the date he and a college roommate launched EMC as an office furniture company.

Egan, 73, died Friday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his condominium in the Four Seasons Hotel, according to the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe, which cited information provided by police and other sources. Egan had been suffering from lung cancer, high blood pressure, and diabetes. He left his wife Maureen and five children.

An indefatigable worker, "Dick" Egan, with co-founder Roger Marino, guided the firm from office furniture to memory boards until they hit pay dirt with disk drives. Today, EMC has more than 40,000 worldwide employees and is the largest technology company in New England. Egan also served as U.S. Ambassador to Ireland during the George W. Bush presidency.

“The world has lost a great man and a great leader,” said Joseph M. Tucci, EMC chairman, president, and CEO, in a statement. “Dick’s vision became one of the world’s top technology companies and his legacy will live on through the tens of thousands of lives he affected in so many positive ways.”

A native of Boston’s working-class Dorchester section, Egan earned an electrical engineering degree from Northeastern University. He had been a generous contributor to the university and its Egan Engineering and Science Research Center was been named in his honor.

Egan worked at a succession of Metropolitan Boston-based companies and operations including MIT’s Draper Laboratory where he worked on the Apollo Guidance Computer, which provided guidance to the astronauts who went to the moon. Later, he worked for Cambridge Memories, Lockheed Aircraft, and Intel before co-founding EMC.

Forbes recently listed Egan 606th on its list of wealthy individuals. His net worth was estimated at $1.3 billion. Forbes said he sold most of his EMC stock during the technology bubble.

EMC was founded in 1979 and first sold its stock to the public in 1986. After that the firm enjoyed explosive growth with innovative products that took advantage of a temporary slump in IBM’s storage business.

A public service will be held Thursday at EMC facilities in Southborough, Massachusetts.

InformationWeek Analytics has published an independent analysis on the state of enterprise storage. Download the report here (registration required).

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