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Mark Shepherd, former Texas Instruments chairman, dies at 86

Feb 4, 2009

DALLAS (Feb. 4, 2009) – Mark Shepherd, Jr., chairman of Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) (NYSE: TXN) from 1976 until 1988, died today in Quitman, Texas, at the age of 86.

"Mark Shepherd led a remarkable life," said Rich Templeton, chairman, president and CEO of Texas Instruments. "He was a man of integrity, and he loved the pursuit of innovation. Mark played a leading role in the creation of the semiconductor industry, and he was a driving force in establishing TI as one of the first global electronics companies. Because of his foresight, TI today has a strong footprint in electronics markets all over the world."

The road to Texas Instruments

Born in Dallas, Texas, in 1923, Mr. Shepherd started elementary school at the age of 4. He decided to pursue electrical engineering when, at age 6, he built a vacuum tube in his garage. Upon graduating from high school at the age of 14, he studied on a scholarship at Southern Methodist University and graduated with honors in 1942 with a bachelor's in electrical engineering. His first professional position was as a design engineer at the General Electric Company. During World War II, he served for three years as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, specializing in radar and electronics maintenance aboard the USS Tucson. After his military service, Shepherd studied at the University of Illinois, receiving a master's degree in electrical engineering in 1947. That same year, he joined Farnsworth Television and Radio Corporation working on engineering and development projects. He went to Geophysical Services, the predecessor company of Texas Instruments, in 1948.

In a career at TI that spanned 40 years, Mr. Shepherd rose from a semiconductor design engineer to become chairman of the board. In 1953, he became TI's chief engineer, followed by promotions to assistant vice president and general manager of the Semiconductor Components Division in 1954, and to vice president in 1955. In 1961, Mr. Shepherd became executive vice president and chief operating officer of the company.

In 1962, Life magazine named Shepherd as one of "The One Hundred Most Important Young People in the Nation," crediting him with "leading the development of transistor mass production and helping to make his company the world's leading producer of semiconductors."

Shepherd was elected to TI's board of directors in 1963, was named company president in 1967, became CEO in 1969 and added the role of chairman of the board in 1976. He retired from active employment at TI in 1985, though he remained chairman until 1988. He continued to serve as a general director until 1993.

During his professional career, Mr. Shepherd received many awards and honors. Alumni organizations at both SMU and University of Illinois recognized him for his distinction. Additionally, he received the Horatio Alger Award and was a Fellow for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

His professional affiliations included USX Corporation Board of Directors, US Korea Business Council, Council on Foreign Relations, National Academy of Engineering, Society of Exploration Geophysicists and numerous other organizations. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from SMU in 1966 and from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1979.

He married Mary Alice Murchland on December 21, 1945, who survives him along with their three children.


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