Textron is a conglomerate
Conglomerate (company)
A conglomerate is a combination of two or more corporations engaged in entirely different businesses that fall under one corporate structure , usually involving a parent company and several subsidiaries. Often, a conglomerate is a multi-industry company...

 that includes Bell Helicopter, E-Z-GO, Cessna Aircraft Company, and Greenlee
Greenlee Textron is an industrial and electrical tool company headquartered in Rockford, Illinois, USA. It was founded in 1862 by brothers Robert and Ralph Greenlee to manufacture their invention, a drill surrounded by four chisel blades, used in making the pockets for a mortise and tenon joint,...

, among others. It was founded by Royal Little
Royal Little
Royal Little , was the founder and chair of Textron, and is considered to be the Father of Conglomerates....

 in 1923 as the Special Yarns Company, and is headquartered at the Textron Tower
Textron Tower
The Textron Tower, formerly the Old Stone Tower, is an International-style skyscraper in downtown Providence, Rhode Island. It is the world headquarters of Textron.At , it stands as the 5th-tallest building in the city and the state...

 in Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence is the capital and most populous city of Rhode Island and was one of the first cities established in the United States. Located in Providence County, it is the third largest city in the New England region...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...


With total revenues of $14.2 billion, and approximately 37,000 employees in 29 countries, Textron is currently ranked 220 on the Fortune 500
Fortune 500
The Fortune 500 is an annual list compiled and published by Fortune magazine that ranks the top 500 U.S. closely held and public corporations as ranked by their gross revenue after adjustments made by Fortune to exclude the impact of excise taxes companies collect. The list includes publicly and...

 list of largest companies for 2010.

Business segments

  • Bell
    • Bell Helicopter Textron
  • Cessna
    • Cessna Aircraft Company
  • Textron Systems
    • Textron Systems
      Textron Systems
      Textron Systems is an aerospace and defense development and manufacturing firm headquartered in Wilmington, Mass., U.S.A. The company is a business unit of Textron Inc., which reported 2009 annual sales in the Textron Systems segment as $1.9 billion....

    • AAI Corporation
      AAI Corporation
      AAI Corporation is an aerospace and defense development and manufacturing firm in Hunt Valley, Maryland, USA. It is formerly a wholly owned subsidiary of United Industrial Corporation, AAI was acquired by Textron in 2007 and currently is an operating unit of Textron Systems Corporation...

    • Lycoming Engines
      Lycoming Engines
      Lycoming Engines is a U.S. aircraft engine company, known primarily for its general aviation engines. For most of its history Lycoming has been part of the AVCO group as AVCO Lycoming. In 1987 AVCO was purchased by Textron to become Textron Lycoming...

    • Overwatch
    • Textron Defense Systems
    • Textron Marine & Land Systems
    • MillenWorks
      MillenWorks, known as Rod Millen Motorsports until 2005, is an automotive technology company started by Rod Millen in 1980. The company began by preparing Millen's rally cars, and evolved into designing and building them...

  • Industrial
    • E-Z-GO (golf cars, trams, hospitality carts, and utility vehicles)
    • Greenlee
      Greenlee Textron is an industrial and electrical tool company headquartered in Rockford, Illinois, USA. It was founded in 1862 by brothers Robert and Ralph Greenlee to manufacture their invention, a drill surrounded by four chisel blades, used in making the pockets for a mortise and tenon joint,...

       (wire and cable installation tools)
    • Jacobsen (professional turf care maintenance equipment)
    • Kautex (plastic fuel systems)
  • Finance
    • Textron Financial Corporation

Early history

Royal Little
Royal Little
Royal Little , was the founder and chair of Textron, and is considered to be the Father of Conglomerates....

, a Harvard graduate and veteran of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, founded the Special Yarns Company in 1923 with $10,000. With over 19 million spindles, Special Yarns Company saw early success in the niche market of synthetic yarns.

Special Yarns Company acquired Franklin Process Company, a cotton yarn processing company in Rhode Island
Rhode Island
The state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, more commonly referred to as Rhode Island , is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area...

 in 1928. This was the first merger of what would ultimately become Textron, the first multi-industry company.

By 1930, Special Yarns sold about 4% of all rayon
Rayon is a manufactured regenerated cellulose fiber. Because it is produced from naturally occurring polymers, it is neither a truly synthetic fiber nor a natural fiber; it is a semi-synthetic or artificial fiber. Rayon is known by the names viscose rayon and art silk in the textile industry...

 used in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, and the company changed its name to Atlantic Rayon. In 1939, the Lawrence Manufacturing Company was added.

The Board of Directors authorized the investment
Investment has different meanings in finance and economics. Finance investment is putting money into something with the expectation of gain, that upon thorough analysis, has a high degree of security for the principal amount, as well as security of return, within an expected period of time...

 of $100,000 to form the Atlantic Parachute Corp in 1942, which manufactured parachutes
Parachutes is the debut album by English alternative rock band Coldplay, released by the record label Parlophone on 10 July 2000 in the United Kingdom. The album was produced by the band and British record producer Ken Nelson, excluding one track which was produced by Chris Allison...

 for the United States Government. This marked a significant change for the company – from a small yarn dyeing and throwing business, to a major manufacturer of finished, sewn products. Sales tripled in the first two years, and employees increased from 900 to 3,000.

By this time, silk
Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The best-known type of silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori reared in captivity...

 was no longer available in enough supply to keep women in hosiery
Hosiery, also referred to as legwear, describes garments worn directly on the feet and legs. The term originated as the collective term for products of which a maker or seller is termed a hosier; and those products are also known generically as hose...

. Now markets turned to the same synthetics used to produce parachutes for the war fighting men abroad. Unfortunately, rayon made for a baggy stocking, and a bare-legged fashion began. Little remained undaunted, however, and used these machines to produce blouses, men's underwear, bedspreads, and draperies. But with these new products came the need for a new name. After considering "Senorita Creations," "Textron" (“Tex" for "textiles," and "tron" for "synthetics") became the official name. To support the growing business, Little purchased several additional textile mills during the same period.

In 1947, Textron was listed on the New York Stock Exchange
New York Stock Exchange
The New York Stock Exchange is a stock exchange located at 11 Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, New York City, USA. It is by far the world's largest stock exchange by market capitalization of its listed companies at 13.39 trillion as of Dec 2010...

 for the first time, under the ticker symbol
Ticker symbol
A stock symbol or ticker symbol is a short abbreviation used to uniquely identify publicly traded shares of a particular stock on a particular stock market. A stock symbol may consist of letters, numbers or a combination of both. "Ticker symbol" refers to the symbols that were printed on the ticker...



Little was realizing in 1952 the inevitable highs and lows of a company focused on one market. He realized that by diversifying the product offerings of Textron, he could balance the fluctuation of any single market. By purchasing relatively small companies in a variety of industries, he reasoned, he could also avoid any concerns by the Federal Trade Commission
Federal Trade Commission
The Federal Trade Commission is an independent agency of the United States government, established in 1914 by the Federal Trade Commission Act...

 that he was forming a monopoly.

Textron’s first purchase outside the textile industry was Burkhart Manufacturing, which produced cushion materials for the automotive industry. Next came Dalmo Victor Company, which produced radar antennas. Today this group is part of the Bell business segment, and produces electromagnetic defense systems for aircraft.

From these early days, acquired companies were taken on as divisions, not subsidiaries. This eliminated the boards of directors for these companies, and allowed revenue generated by the divisions to flow directly to Textron. In 1955, Textron acquired American Woolen, significantly increasing its net worth and stock price, and, in just a few months, Ryan Industries (maker of mechanical and electromechanical devices such as a pistol that fired triangular bullets), Homelite (chain saws, power generators, blowers, and pumps), Camcar Screw and Manufacturing Company, Coquille Plywood, and Kordite Company (plastic clotheslines, garment bags, and shower curtains).

A rather unusual acquisition for Textron came in 1956 when it purchased the 18,500 ton troop ship, the SS LaGuardia, refitted it as a cruise ship, and rechristened it the Leilani
Leilani is a Hawaiian name that means heavenly lei.Leilani may refer to:-People:*Leilani Dowding, English model*Leilani Munter, NASCAR driver*Leilani Jones , stage actress*Leilani Kai, actress*Leilani Mitchell, Basketball player...

. The maiden voyage of the new ship was a disaster, however, because of inadequate plumbing and food poisoning. In 1958, Textron abandoned the ship to Maritime Commission.

In 1956, Rupert C. Thompson, Jr., who had been director and chairman of the executive committee and head of Textron’s non-textile operations, was named to succeed Royal Little as president. Little remained chairman of the board and CEO.

Textron continued its acquisition of several small companies in the next few years. In 1960, however, Little purchased Bell Aircraft Company for $32 million in cash. The purchase brought all of Bell’s real estate and three divisions: Bell Helicopter of Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth is the 16th-largest city in the United States of America and the fifth-largest city in the state of Texas. Located in North Central Texas, just southeast of the Texas Panhandle, the city is a cultural gateway into the American West and covers nearly in Tarrant, Parker, Denton, and...

 (manufacturer of military and commercial helicopters), Bell Aerosystems of Buffalo, New York (designer and producer of rocket engines, inertial guidance systems, space components, automatic landing systems, and avionics
Avionics are electronic systems used on aircraft, artificial satellites and spacecraft.Avionic systems include communications, navigation, the display and management of multiple systems and the hundreds of systems that are fitted to aircraft to meet individual roles...

 devices), and Hydraulic Research and Manufacturing of Burbank, California (producer of electro-hydraulic valves and servo
thumb|right|200px|Industrial servomotorThe grey/green cylinder is the [[Brush |brush-type]] [[DC motor]]. The black section at the bottom contains the [[Epicyclic gearing|planetary]] [[Reduction drive|reduction gear]], and the black object on top of the motor is the optical [[rotary encoder]] for...

 control systems). Combined, this division was known as Bell Aerospace.

Already a well-known name in the aviation industry, Bell became a household name with the success of the Bell 47
Bell 47
The Bell 47 is a two-bladed, single engine, light helicopter manufactured by Bell Helicopter. Based on the third Model 30 prototype, Bell's first helicopter designed by Arthur M. Young, the Bell 47 became the first helicopter certified for civilian use on 8 March 1946...

 helicopter and its use in films such as MASH
MASH (film)
MASH is a 1970 American satirical dark comedy film directed by Robert Altman and written by Ring Lardner, Jr., based on Richard Hooker's novel MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors. It is the only feature film in the M*A*S*H franchise...

. During the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, Bell produced more than 10,000 UH-1 Hueys. Meanwhile, Bell Aerospace helped power the Gemini spacecraft, and produced the post boost propulsion system for the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile.

The end of Little's tenure

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Textron branched into a wide variety of industries: photocopy paper, pharmaceuticals, fiberglass boats, men’s dress shoes, crystal, and finally golf carts. Textron purchased E-Z-GO Car Corporation, the oldest golf car manufacturer in the business, in part because of Little’s devotion to the game.

In 1961, Royal Little retired, severing his official ties to Textron. Little remained active in the business world, setting up a small investment company called Narragansett Capital, and writing articles for Fortune
Fortune (magazine)
Fortune is a global business magazine published by Time Inc. Founded by Henry Luce in 1930, the publishing business, consisting of Time, Life, Fortune, and Sports Illustrated, grew to become Time Warner. In turn, AOL grew as it acquired Time Warner in 2000 when Time Warner was the world's largest...

. Little died in 1989.

Leadership under Thompson

Textron’s 1960 annual report
Annual report
An annual report is a comprehensive report on a company's activities throughout the preceding year. Annual reports are intended to give shareholders and other interested people information about the company's activities and financial performance...

 described “new patterns for growth” for the company. To this end, Thompson divided all of Textron’s holdings into specific divisions: Automotive, Consumer, Defense, Industrial, and Textile. Over time, these divisions were rearranged as the Automotive Group took the name Industrial, and the Industrial Group became the Metal Product Group. The Textile Group soon disappeared entirely, and Defense became Aerospace. In the 1970s, the first non-manufacturing group was added: the Creative Capital Group. In 1963, Textron sold its last textile group.

A further significant change came in the 1960s with the addition of the Employee Stock Savings Plan. Now employees could contribute up to 10% of their base salary to the Savings Plan, and Textron would contribute an amount equal to one-half of these payments. By 1978, employee-owned stock represented 17% of Textron’s Common stock.

Bill Miller

Following Little’s example, Thompson retired at age 63 and turned leadership of the company over to company president Bill Miller
G. William Miller
George William Miller served as the 65th United States Secretary of the Treasury under President Carter from August 6, 1979 to January 20, 1981...

. Acquisitions under Miller included snowmobile maker Polaris
Polaris Industries
Polaris Industries is a manufacturer of snowmobiles, ATV, and neighborhood electric vehicles. Polaris is based in Medina, Minnesota, USA. The company also manufactures motorcycles through its Victory Motorcycles subsidiary and through the Indian Motorcycle subsidiary which it purchased in April...

, Australian card maker Valentine Holdings, and the venture capital firm American Research and Development Corporation
American Research and Development Corporation
American Research and Development Corporation was a venture capital and private equity firm founded in 1946 by Georges Doriot, the "father of venture capitalism" , with Ralph Flanders and Karl Compton .ARDC is credited with the first major venture capital success story when its 1957 investment of...


Miller's tenure at Textron ended in 1977, when President Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 nominated him to be Chairman of the Federal Reserve. He later served as Secretary of the Treasury for President Carter. Joseph Collinson succeeded Miller as Textron's chairman and CEO.

From the 1960s through the 1980s, Textron's management philosophy remained relatively constant. The corporate office, for the most part, maintained oversight of operational issues. During this time business units operated autonomously and corporate staff was small. Oversight by the corporate center was handled by a rotating group of corporate officers called Group Vice Presidents.
In 1979, Collinson retired, and he was succeeded by Robert P. Straetz as chairman and CEO. Beverly F. Dolan, founder and former president of E-Z-GO, was president. By the end of 1979, revenues had risen to $3.3 billion.

The Avco acquisition

Textron acquired Avco Corporation of Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

, a conglomerate
Conglomerate (company)
A conglomerate is a combination of two or more corporations engaged in entirely different businesses that fall under one corporate structure , usually involving a parent company and several subsidiaries. Often, a conglomerate is a multi-industry company...

 of almost equal size with pre-acquisition revenue of $2.9 billion in December 1985. Created by the Embry-Riddle Company as a holding company to acquire airlines, Avco held interests in more than 90 companies, including American Airways, predecessor of American Airlines
American Airlines
American Airlines, Inc. is the world's fourth-largest airline in passenger miles transported and operating revenues. American Airlines is a subsidiary of the AMR Corporation and is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas adjacent to its largest hub at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport...


Four years later, Dolan recruited James F. Hardymon as Textron's new president after a 28-year career at Emerson Electric, where he had most recently served as president and chief operating officer. One of Hardymon’s first moves was the acquisition of the Cessna Aircraft Company, a leader in light and medium-sized commercial business jets.

Now Hardymon needed to increase corporate oversight of operations. He brought in Lewis B. Campbell
Lewis B. Campbell
Lewis B. Campbell is the former CEO of Textron. He received a BSE from Duke University in 1968.-Campbell’s Transformation of Textron:In 1998, Campbell was appointed chief executive officer. Campbell believed in the “core business” model, and divested from Avco Financial Services...

, an executive from General Motors
General Motors
General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

, as executive vice president and chief operating officer in 1992. In 1994, Campbell was elected president.

From 1989 through 1997, Hardymon continued his goal to maintain consistent growth for the company, decreasing military contracts, insurance
In law and economics, insurance is a form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent, uncertain loss. Insurance is defined as the equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another, in exchange for payment. An insurer is a company selling the...

, and consumer products, and divesting “non-core” businesses. Meanwhile, he strengthened the Aircraft, Automotive, Industrial, and Finance divisions.

Campbell takes over as CEO of Textron

In 1998, Campbell was appointed chief executive officer. Campbell divested Avco Financial Services.

Beginning in 2000, Campbell led a company-wide restructuring program to increase efficiency of operations; the consolidation of several manufacturing facilities; outsourcing of non-core production; and divestiture of non-core units.

Lewis Campbell has been a big proponent of Six Sigma
Six Sigma
Six Sigma is a business management strategy originally developed by Motorola, USA in 1986. , it is widely used in many sectors of industry.Six Sigma seeks to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects and minimizing variability in manufacturing and...

 and encourages its use throughout the company, even in divisions, like the legal group, where it is not traditionally used.

Under Campbell's direction Textron today functions as what it calls a networked enterprise. Departing from the old model of a holding company that simply acquires businesses and leaves their operations unchanged, the networked enterprise helps facilitate the operation of strong, unique brands. This means that while Bell Helicopter and E-Z-GO serve very different markets with distinct brands and customer bases, they share many of the same business infrastructure resources such as information technology
Information technology
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications...

 infrastructure and employee benefits.

When Campbell took over the company in 1998, the shares of Textron stock (TXT) were valued over $45 per share (split adjusted price) and the company had a market capitalization of over $12 billion. The price fell to as low as $13/share in March 2003 after the economic downturn following the collapse of Internet companies and the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Lower demand for helicopters and airplanes led to layoffs at Cessna Aircraft Company and Bell Helicopter.

Forbes magazine, in 2004, named Campbell as the fifth worst performing CEO in the country.

Shares in Textron fell to as low as $10.09 a share in the economic downturn of 2008 driving its market capitalization to just $3.17 billion.

While the company lost 75% of its value in the first ten years of Campbell's leadership, he managed to take home over $120 million in compensation. His salary in 2008 was $25 million, making him the highest paid executive of a conglomerate. Campbell managed to sell over $40 million in TXT stock in April and May 2008, at prices over $60/share.

Campbell was reported by the Wall Street Journal in 2007 to have received $494,700 worth of compensation in that year in the form of his use of a corporate jet to travel between his home and office, which made him the most expensive CEO in the country in terms of use of jet travel. Some shareholders have questioned whether it is a good use of shareholder dollars to pay for the personal lifestyle choice of the CEO to live in one state and work in another.

Donnelly era, 2010 - present

On December 1, 2009, Campbell retired as CEO after a multi-year succession planning process. He was succeeded as CEO by Scott C. Donnelly, who had been been recruited from General Electric
General Electric
General Electric Company , or GE, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in Schenectady, New York and headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, United States...

. Donnelly was named chairman of the board on September 1, 2010.

Environmental record

Textron was named one of America's Safest Companies in 2008 by Occupational Hazards magazine, a national publication for occupational safety and health professionals. The award is presented annually and recognizes companies for outstanding safety processes, health and training programs as well as a strong commitment from management and employees.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst
The University of Massachusetts Amherst is a public research and land-grant university in Amherst, Massachusetts, United States and the flagship of the University of Massachusetts system...

 have identified Textron as the 60th-largest corporate producer of air pollution
Air pollution
Air pollution is the introduction of chemicals, particulate matter, or biological materials that cause harm or discomfort to humans or other living organisms, or cause damage to the natural environment or built environment, into the atmosphere....

 in the United States, with roughly 600,000 pounds of toxic chemicals released annually into the air. Major pollutants indicated by the study include chromium
Chromium is a chemical element which has the symbol Cr and atomic number 24. It is the first element in Group 6. It is a steely-gray, lustrous, hard metal that takes a high polish and has a high melting point. It is also odorless, tasteless, and malleable...

, nickel
Nickel is a chemical element with the chemical symbol Ni and atomic number 28. It is a silvery-white lustrous metal with a slight golden tinge. Nickel belongs to the transition metals and is hard and ductile...

, and manganese
Manganese is a chemical element, designated by the symbol Mn. It has the atomic number 25. It is found as a free element in nature , and in many minerals...


Product milestones

Textron Systems has received a US government award to build the first 100 kW solid-state laser
A laser is a device that emits light through a process of optical amplification based on the stimulated emission of photons. The term "laser" originated as an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation...


Jacobsen may refer to:*Jacobsen , people with the surname JacobsenIn places:* Jacobsen, California, in El Dorado County* Jacobsen Bight, South GeorgiaIn other uses:...

A lawn is an area of aesthetic and recreational land planted with grasses or other durable plants, which usually are maintained at a low and consistent height. Low ornamental meadows in natural landscaping styles are a contemporary option of a lawn...

 maintenance equipment was used to maintain many of the stadiums that hosted the 2006 World Cup
FIFA World Cup
The FIFA World Cup, often simply the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association , the sport's global governing body...

 in Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...


The V-22 Osprey
V-22 Osprey
The Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey is an American multi-mission, military, tiltrotor aircraft with both a vertical takeoff and landing , and short takeoff and landing capability...

, a revolutionary tiltrotor
A tiltrotor is an aircraft which uses a pair or more of powered rotors mounted on rotating shafts or nacelles at the end of a fixed wing for lift and propulsion, and combines the vertical lift capability of a helicopter with the speed and range of a conventional fixed-wing aircraft...

 aircraft, received approval for full-scale production from the U.S. Department of Defense in 2005.

Cessna Aircraft Company in 2006 announced a feasibility study for a new low-cost, light-sport aircraft
Light-sport Aircraft
A Light-sport aircraft, also known as light sport aircraft or LSA, is a small aircraft that is simple to fly and which meets certain regulations set by a National aviation authority restricting weight and performance...

. As a result of the study the company announced the production of the $109,500 Cessna 162 at the AirVenture air show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where they sold over 700 copies of the plane in one week.


One of Textron's subsidiaries, Textron Systems
Textron Systems
Textron Systems is an aerospace and defense development and manufacturing firm headquartered in Wilmington, Mass., U.S.A. The company is a business unit of Textron Inc., which reported 2009 annual sales in the Textron Systems segment as $1.9 billion....

, produces and sells cluster munition. Thus, it is illegal to invest in Textron in Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Lebanon, Malta, Mexico, Norway and Rwanda. More than 100 countries worldwide condemn the use of cluster bombs.

Further reading

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