Medtronic’s Winston Wallin dies, current CEO retires

It was that kind of day at Medtronic Inc.

In the morning, the company in Fridley announced current CEO Bill Hawkins would retire next year. In the afternoon, Medtronic announced one of its former CEOs had died.

Winston Wallin, who lead Medtronic from 1985 to 1991, died Monday at age 84. A former president and chief operating officer at Pillsbury Co., Wallin joined Medtronic as a board member in 1978 and was named CEO seven years later.

“We are saddened to learn of Win’s passing, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Wallin family as they grieve the loss and celebrate the life of a dedicated family man and community leader,” Hawkins said in a statement.

“Win’s legacy is part of the very heart of Medtronic,” he said. “Without his contributions, Medtronic would not be what it is today. We are grateful for the opportunity to remember his leadership at Medtronic with pride, and we are inspired to carry out our Mission with the same devotion and passion that he did.”

In retirement, Wallin was an active philanthropist. He founded Wallin Education Partners, an integral partner to the Medtronic Foundation’s Scholars program. Since 1991, the program has awarded more than 3,000 scholarships and more than $25 million to support high-potential students with financial need from Minneapolis, Anoka-Hennepin, St. Paul and North Metro district high schools.

Earlier this year, the University of Minnesota named its new medical biosciences building, a key facility in the school’s $292 million Biomedical Discovery District, after Wallin and his wife Maxine.

“We fondly remember Win for much more than his business record,” Hawkins said. “He was extraordinarily generous and kind, and had a sincerity and dedication to fairness and ethical business practices which we strive to uphold every day at Medtronic.”

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