Thursday 24th March 1988
Elliot Marantette “Pete” Estes (71`) an American automotive engineer and executive, most known as being the fifteenth president of General Motors, from 1974 to 1981, died. He was born in Anchorage, Alaska and worked in a creamery, until at the suggestion of a cousin, applied to the General Motors Institute, where he worked with Charles Kettering and oversaw the successful introduction of the Oldsmobile Rocket V8 engine.
Following his tenure as an engineer at Oldsmobile, Estes was appointed Chief Engineer at Pontiac in 1956 by Semon “Bunkie” Knudsen and became President of the Pontiac Division in 1961, where he oversaw a dramatic increase in sales. He became President of the Chevrolet Division in 1965, executive Vice President of General Motors in 1972, and served as President of GM from 1974 to his retirement from the company in 1981.
He was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1999. After his retirement, Estes was a director on the board of the Kellogg Company, and died of a heart attack at O’Hare Airport while on his way to a board meeting