HARTFORD, Conn. – Harry J. Gray, 89, retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of United Technologies Corp. who is widely recognized for his role in shaping the modern-day UTC, died today at Hartford Hospital.
Mr. Gray joined the company, then known as United Aircraft Corporation, as president and chief administrative officer in September 1971. He was named chief executive officer in October 1972 and assumed the title of chairman of the board of directors in January 1974. He retired as CEO in January 1986 and as chairman in December 1986.
Under his leadership, United Technologies grew from a $2 billion aerospace company to a diversified manufacturer offering a broad range of products and services to the global aerospace and building industries. Mr. Gray was especially noted for his instrumental role in UTC’s acquisition of Otis Elevator Company and Carrier Corporation, both of which became major contributors to the corporation’s growth and diversity.
“Harry Gray was an extraordinary leader,” said UTC President and Chief Executive Officer Louis R. Chênevert. “His remarkable vision and outstanding business sense transformed the then $2 billion United Aircraft into United Technologies Corp., setting the foundation for the successful global corporation UTC is today.
“Harry also will be well-remembered for his generous charitable and philanthropic contributions to education, arts and healthcare organizations throughout the Greater Hartford community. He leaves an extraordinary legacy of accomplishment and kindness. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and countless friends,” Chênevert said.
Prior to joining United Aircraft, Mr. Gray was the chief financial officer of Litton Industries. Mr. Gray graduated from the University of Illinois in 1941 and earned a master’s degree there in 1947. He was the recipient of numerous honorary degrees and other awards. He served more than four years in the U.S. Army during World War II, participating in all five major European battles. He attained the rank of captain as a member of Gen. George S. Patton’s forces and received numerous citations for gallantry in action, including the Silver Star during the Battle of the Bulge.
United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX), based in Hartford, Connecticut, is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the building and aerospace industries.