Former CBS CEO Michael H. Jordan dies at 73, led Westinghouse purchase of broadcaster

By Deborah Yao, AP
Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Former CBS CEO Michael H. Jordan dies at 73

Michael H. Jordan, a skilled troubleshooter who held leadership roles at CBS, PepsiCo and Westinghouse, has died from complications related to cancer. He was 73.

Jordan was instrumental in crafting the media conglomerate that became the CBS of today as its chairman and chief executive. As the top executive at Westinghouse Electric Corp., he engineered the acquisition of CBS in 1995. He later shed Westinghouse’s industrial businesses and kept the media business. Viacom Inc. bought CBS in 1999 but they parted ways seven years later.

CBS CEO Leslie Moonves says Jordan “took over Westinghouse when most thought its demise was inevitable and brought it back to life, transforming the old industrial corporation into one completely focused in the media world.”

Early in his career, Jordan was a consultant and principal at McKinsey & Co. He would later hold various executive positions at PepsiCo before retiring in 1992 as chairman and CEO of its international foods and beverages division.

Donald Kendall, former chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, remembers Jordan as a “gifted leader and one of the most brilliant strategists I’ve known. During his tenure at PepsiCo he was a major contributor to our growth and success.”

Jordan did not stay retired for long. Shortly after leaving PepsiCo, he joined private investment firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice Inc. In 1993, he became the head of Westinghouse and stayed for five years. He retired again, became a private investor and wrote a mystery novel.

In 2003, Jordan was coaxed out of retirement to turnaround Electronic Data Systems, the software and networking company, as chairman and CEO. He stepped down in 2007 but remained chairman emeritus until Hewlett-Packard Co. bought EDS a year later.

CBS Corp. says Jordan died Tuesday in New York. He is survived by his wife, Hilary Cecil-Jordan, four children, a daughter-in-law and six grandchildren. A son-in-law passed away last year.

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