Death of EMC co-founder Richard Egan

31 Aug 2009

The Irish-American co-founder of EMC Richard Egan died this weekend. Egan’s company EMC is one of Ireland’s leading employers with more than 2,000 people working in Cork and in recent years Egan was the American ambassador to Ireland.

It is understood that Egan (73) died at his home in Boston after a long battle with cancer.

The former US marine helicopter pilot grew up in Massachusetts and described his formative years as those of a street kid.

After leaving the US marines Egan went back to university and graduated with an electrical engineering degree at the age of 26. Egan was part of the team that built the memory system for NASA’s Apollo 13 space craft which travelled to the moon. He then went to work at MIT, Lockheed Martin, Honeywell and Intel.

It was with college pal Roger Marino that Egan founded EMC (Egan Marino Corporation) in 1979 after realising that the minicomputer business was booming and that there was a gap in the market for memory cards. They funded their business by selling furniture and thus an empire was born.

EMC grew to become the world’s largest data storage company and today employs 40,000 people. Egan held the CEO position from 1992 to 2001 and was executive chairman until 2005. Egan was US ambassador to Ireland in 2001 and 2002.

EMC’s CEO and chairman Joe Tucci said of Egan: “The world has lost a great man and a great leader. On behalf of more than 40,000 EMC employees from around the world, we extend our deepest condolences to Mrs. Egan and the entire family.

“Thirty years ago this week, Dick founded EMC with his partner, Roger Marino. 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. We have all lost a great mentor and friend.”

Mike Ruettgers, retired EMC chairman, president and CEO, said, “Dick Egan stands as one of America’s greatest entrepreneurs. To have been able to join him and help build EMC into a world leader was an experience of a lifetime.

“He was truly a legend, from the halls of EMC to our customers’ data centres and boardrooms. I personally learned a great deal from working with him and always enjoyed our working relationship. He will be deeply missed by those of us who were fortunate enough to know him and call him a friend.”

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years