Arlington, Va. – Jerry Kalov, a long-time consumer electronics executive who also contributed much of his time and expertise to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and was the first ever recipient of CEA’s Lifetime Achievement Award, has died at 69.
CEA reported that he passed away Tuesday morning following a long battle with leukemia.
Kalov, who most recently headed Kay Associates, a management consulting firm based in Menlo Park, Calif., was a longtime leader in the consumer electronics industry and a staunch CEA supporter and committed volunteer.
Kalov served as chairman of CEA from 1992 to 1994. Following his chairmanship, he remained an active volunteer leader, serving as industry executive advisor, a member of CEA’s executive board and its board of industry leaders. He also was a recent inductee into the CE Hall of Fame.
“Hearts are heavy today as our industry mourns the loss of a great man, industry leader and dear friend,” said CEA’s president/CEO Gary Shapiro. “He set a phenomenal example of volunteer leadership — always giving of his time, meeting with staff and helping to grow the association and the International CES.His list of contributions to our industry and our association are many — Jerry played a critical role in negotiating the formation of CEA as a standalone association, he helped us grow by leading us through several key mergers, and he provided key strategic advice that directly helped the International CES grow into the world’s largest annual showcase for consumer technology. More importantly, he was a mentor and friend to me, our staff and to many throughout the industry. A great man has passed. His passing will be sorely felt.”
Past and present CEA executive board chairmen joined Shapiro in remembering Kalov today.
“Since 1992, when I met Jerry and became active in CEA, he mentored and helped me learn about leadership and humanity,” said U.S. Representative Darrell Issa. “Even when I became a member of Congress, I continued to rely on Jerry as a sounding board. Jerry was a unique human being who touched my life and the lives of many others. We will all miss him.”
Current CEA executive board chairman and founder of Mitek Corp., Loyd Ivey, said of Kalov, “Jerry Kalov was a close friend of mine for over 30 years. We worked together on Jensen Loudspeakers in 1973. Jerry was always a man of vision and profound wisdom, and I cherished every moment I spent with him. I will miss him dearly.”
“Words cannot express the magnitude of loss so many people in our industry feel today,” added Kathy Gornik, president of Thiel Audio. “Jerry Kalov, our dear friend, colleague and mentor, lost his courageous battle with leukemia today. The enormous contribution Jerry made to so many people for so many years will linger long in our minds and hearts. More importantly, Jerry's example of a life lived with great dignity, honesty, tolerance, humility, intelligence, patience and love is his legacy to those who knew him well, even as it is our source of inspiration and guidance as we go forward so sadly without him.”
Kalov’s involvement in the electronics industry for more than 46 years also included a number of key executive positions in manufacturing, retailing, and wholesale distribution. From 1985 until his retirement in 1998, he was president and CEO of Cobra Electronics Corporation.
Prior to joining Cobra, Kalov was the senior partner in a Los Angeles-based venture capital and management consulting firm. He was president and COO of Harman International Industries, a then privately held, multinational manufacturing and distribution company in the electronics, home entertainment and professional recording industries, as well as president and CEO of JBL Inc., the largest of Harman’s subsidiaries.
As a member of Harman’s board of directors, he actively and successfully engaged the company in a number of business acquisitions.
For ten years prior to his Harman tenure, Kalov was the senior officer of Jensen International, originally a unit of Pemcor Inc., which was later acquired by Esmark. His past business involvements included having a proprietary interest in a multistore retail electronics company in the Chicago metropolitan area, management of a number of stores for a national electronics chain, and serving as a manufacturer’s representative.
He was instrumental in numerous charitable and industry fund raising involvements, most notably as president of the Northridge (California) Hospital Development Association and in various board and development positions of the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago.
Funeral arrangements will be announced.