Bradenton, Fla. — Jon Poto, an electronics industry executive of 37 years, died unexpectedly at his home here on July 30th. He was 60. Private services were held at Hawkins Funeral Home in Sarasota.
Poto, whose career was devoted entirely to the consumer electronics industry, started with Magnavox in 1967 as a product manager. He went on to General Electric where he held numerous progressively responsible positions over a 12-year span. He was recruited by Sharp in 1986 where he spent eight years, rising to director of the SE division.
He left Sharp for Samsung Electronics in 1994 where he was marketing and sales VP, and became the first American ever elected to their board of directors in 1998.
He was later recruited by Hitachi Home Electronics where he was executive VP and general manager.
According to his wife of 27 years, Marlene, Poto was happiest and most proud of his time at Samsung where he helped set the stage for Samsung’s phenomenal growth into an industry powerhouse.
Kim McCusker, an industry executive for thirty-plus years and a friend of Poto’s since their days together at General Electric, commented upon learning of Jon’s death, “Jon was a terrific guy, a great leader and a good friend. He was driven to make his businesses succeed. He cared about his people and was more concerned about their success than his own. He retired last year but was still dabbling in a consulting capacity in the industry that he dearly loved. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends and by the industry that he helped shape from its modern infancy.”
Poto retired and moved to Florida in 2004. He was a graduate of Indiana University and a highly decorated Vietnam veteran, where he served as a Marine Recon officer. His awards for valor include the Silver Star and three Purple Hearts.
In addition to his wife, Poto is survived by three sons, Jeff, Brad and Kellen, and two grandchildren.