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Kay Whitmore, 72; Eastman Kodak's CEO From 1990 to 1993

July 28, 2004|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Kay Whitmore, who guided Eastman Kodak Co. for three years before being fired in 1993 for failing to cut costs fast enough to satisfy investors in the world's biggest photography company, has died.

He was 72.

Whitmore, who had been battling leukemia, died Monday at a Rochester, N.Y. hospital, the company said Tuesday. The cause of death was not disclosed.

A chemical engineer by training, Whitmore joined Kodak in 1957, was elected president in 1983 and became chairman and chief executive in 1990.

His grip on the helm came under intense pressure in 1993 when the firm's new chief financial officer quit because of apparent disagreements with Whitmore over how to improve Kodak's financial performance.

A few months later, Whitmore was ousted by Kodak's board.

Two weeks later, Kodak moved to slash 10,000 jobs -- about 10% of the workforce.

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