Harold W. McGraw, Jr.
Chairman Emeritus and Former CEO, The McGraw-Hill Companies
Chairman Emeritus and Former CEO, The McGraw-Hill Companies
NEW YORK, March 24, 2010 -- Harold W. McGraw, Jr., who began his career as a book company sales representative in the firm founded by his grandfather, James H. McGraw, and went on to lead McGraw-Hill's rapid growth as a diversified global company through the dawn of the Digital Age, died peacefully at his home this morning at the age of 92.
Mr. McGraw played a major role in creating a highly innovative global education, financial services and business information company. Today, McGraw-Hill, led by Mr. McGraw's son, Harold "Terry" McGraw III, plays a significant role in the global economy and the advancement of education.
"My father was a passionate and principled leader, who led McGraw-Hill with an educator's heart and an insistence that the underlying principles guiding the company since its founding in 1888 - integrity, quality, value and excellence - would endure," said Harold McGraw III, chairman, president and chief executive officer of The McGraw-Hill Companies. "He was an inspiration to us all and deeply loved McGraw-Hill and its many contributions to society. He had a special affection for all employees and their commitment to the future and well-being of the company."
Mr. McGraw continually reminded his managers that McGraw-Hill's mission was to educate and inform. "I like to feel that we have been, and still are, would-be educators at heart," he often said.
These values led to record-setting results in his eight years as CEO with the company. Under Mr. McGraw, the company's revenue more than doubled and earnings per share more than tripled. This performance set the stage for future innovations that have changed the way the world does business and educates its people. The same values guided Mr. McGraw's steadfast commitment to philanthropy. Over the years, he helped significantly improve the lives of the less fortunate through his leadership and generous personal support of numerous education and literacy programs.
As CEO of McGraw-Hill, he was always closely connected with employees, sending them hand-written notes, walking the corridors, and eating lunch in the company cafeteria. He advised employees to "make sure you get in a job you really enjoy, for doing worthwhile work for a worthwhile mission ought to be exciting and fun."
In recognition of his lifetime commitment to education, Mr. McGraw received the nation's highest literacy award in 1990 from President George H.W. Bush. President Bush, in presenting him with the Literacy Award said, "Your grandfather, James McGraw, began as a teacher before turning to publishing. It now seems so very appropriate that you should turn from publishing to a very special type of teaching - teaching your business colleagues nationwide that literacy is crucial to our workforce and to our economy."
During his years as CEO between 1975 and 1983, Mr. McGraw spearheaded the company's increasing use of technology. He foresaw new growth opportunities by providing more timely information and innovative services. McGraw-Hill's books and magazines were produced more effectively with the latest technology, and the company acquired additional businesses to enhance its information creation and distribution.
Mr. McGraw always believed that the quality and content of the message, rather than the mode of delivery, were most important. "Although the medium might change," he said, "content always must be determined by the same standards - it has to be accurate, objective, authoritative, comprehensive, current, and reliable."
Those high standards, in addition to new technology and innovation in the financial services industry, helped propel the growth of Standard & Poor's during Mr. McGraw's time as CEO. Investors increasingly sought out S&P's credit ratings, indices and data-based products, and in 1983, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange began trading futures on the S&P 500.
With offices in 23 countries today, S&P has become the premier global provider of independent credit ratings, market indices, investment research, financial data and fixed income research and analysis.
McGraw-Hill Education today spans the full spectrum of lifelong learning - from early childhood development to professional development. With offices in 33 countries and materials in 65 different languages, the company partners with schools and universities around the world to deliver the most innovative learning tools so students and professionals can achieve their full potential.
Among the authors and scholars who were published by McGraw-Hill during Mr. McGraw's tenure were Paul Samuelson, Heinrich Boll, Vladimir Nabokov, Marshall McLuhan and Robert Solow.
As a business leader, Mr. McGraw clearly set his company on a growth path that today has made it a world leader in education, financial services and business information. As a philanthropist, he helped set many individuals on a growth path that significantly enhanced their lives.
Among his many business accomplishments, Mr. McGraw was well known as both the stalwart leader who successfully defended McGraw-Hill against a hostile takeover attempt by American Express in 1979, and then went on to generate record growth and far greater value for shareholders by remaining independent.
One of the severest critics of his determination to resist American Express was the investor-focused publication Barron's, which in 1979 suggested that "McGraw-Hill stockholders are getting a raw deal." Ten years later, Barron's columnist Robert M. Bleiberg acknowledged that "we owe Harold W. McGraw, Jr. a forthright (and belated) retraction," adding: "Harold McGraw - at least by a number of tried and true investment yardsticks - in retrospect clearly did the right thing."
Mr. McGraw was deeply involved in meeting the challenges of national literacy and education. He contributed to numerous literacy organizations and encouraged involvement of employees and retirees by providing a number of grants to those who became active in literacy programs around the country.
In 1983, he established the widely acclaimed Business Council for Effective Literacy, an organization that rallied major American corporations in the fight against illiteracy. The following year, he founded the Business Press Educational Foundation, which gives business journalism students a broad range of educational materials and opportunities, including editorial internships. He personally provided all the funding for these organizations during their early years and built organizations to staff them.
In 1988, The McGraw-Hill Companies, as part of the observance of its 100th anniversary, created the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education in his honor. Since then, a distinguished board of judges has presented three annual awards to individuals who have made significant contributions to the advancement of knowledge through education.
Announcing the formation of the education prize, Joseph L. Dionne, who succeeded Mr. McGraw as chairman of the McGraw-Hill board that year, said, "There is no greater, more generous friend to education and literacy than Harold McGraw. We honor and support his special, continuing commitment."
Additional philanthropic activities included Mr. McGraw's personal funding of a major renovation of the McGraw Rotunda at the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue, named in honor of his parents Harold and Louise McGraw. Other recipients of his generosity included the Children's Wing of his hometown library in Darien, Conn., the Reading Room in the Bunn Library of the Lawrenceville (N.J.) School, and several settlement houses on the West Side of Manhattan, including classrooms and a playground at Hartley House dedicated to his daughter, Suzanne McGraw, a teacher.
In 1998, Mr. McGraw made a donation to Princeton University, his alma mater, to endow The Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Center for Teaching and Learning, a state-of-the-art center featuring an electronic classroom, a multimedia resource laboratory, and an extensive library of print and electronic educational materials. Among other gifts given by Mr. McGraw to the school were funds for editing Albert Einstein's papers by Princeton University Press as well as the McGraw Distinguished Visiting Professors writing course.
Born in New York City on January 10, 1918, Mr. McGraw graduated from Princeton University in 1940. He served as a captain in the Army Air Corps in World War II and then worked in advertising and book retailing before joining McGraw-Hill as a sales representative in 1947.
He became executive vice president of the Book Enterprise in 1965 and its president in 1968, saying that those years were among the happiest of his professional life.
In 1974, he was elected president of the corporation, and subsequently became its chief executive officer and chairman of the board. Mr. McGraw retired in 1988 at the age of 70 after being elected chairman emeritus by the board of directors.
Mr. McGraw also served as a president of Princeton University Press; was a chairman of the Council for Aid to Education; and a vice chairman of the New York Public Library. He was a trustee for the Guggenheim Museum, the United Cerebral Palsy Foundation, and the New York City Partnership.
Mr. McGraw married the former Anne Per-Lee in 1940. Mrs. McGraw passed away in 2002.
His son Harold McGraw III is chairman, president and chief executive officer of The McGraw-Hill Companies and another son Robert P. McGraw serves on the company's board of directors.
Mr. McGraw is survived by his children, Suzanne McGraw, Harold McGraw III, and Robert P. McGraw; his grandchildren, Harold (Whit) McGraw IV, Megan McGraw Mozingo, Sarah Michelle McGraw, Avery McGraw, Thomas P. McGraw, Jr., Dale McGraw, Anne McGraw and Charles McGraw; and his great-grandchildren, Harold (Quinn) McGraw V and Robert L. (Bode) McGraw. Another son, Thomas, passed away in 2006.
About The McGraw-Hill Companies:
Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP) is a global information services and education company providing essential knowledge in the financial, education and business information sectors through leading brands including Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2009 were $5.95 billion. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/.
SOURCE The McGraw-Hill Companies