PASADENA, CALIF. -- Richard W. Millar, 92, a longtime California aerospace executive and retired board chairman of the Northrop Corp., died June 1 at a nursing home here. The cause of death was not reported.
He served on Northrop's board of directors from 1946 to 1984. He first served as chairman from 1947 to 1949. Recalled to the post in 1975 after Northrop was accused of making illegal political contributions and overseas payoffs, he retired again in 1976.
During his years on the board, the company increased its annual earnings from $38 million to $3.7 billion. Its product line grew from propeller-driven warplanes to work on the Stealth bomber.
He appeared before a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee June 9, 1975, to testify about questionable sales commissions the company made. They included payments of $450,000 to its agent, Saudi businessman Adnan Khashoggi. Khashoggi said the money was paid to Saudi generals during sales negotiations.
After his Senate testimony, Mr. Millar replaced Northrop Chairman Thomas V. Jones and headed the company's internal investigation of payment practices. In 1976, Jones was reinstated as board chairman.
Mr. Millar was born in Denver and grew up in Los Angeles. He was an Army infantry officer during World War I. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1921.
He began his business career as an investment banker. He became president of Bankamerica Corp., the investment branch of what became Bank of America, in 1930. He became a vice president of Douglas Aircraft in 1938, and became president of Vultee Aircraft Inc., a forerunner of General Dynamics, in 1939. He left Vultee during World War II. He later organized a new company, Avion Inc., before joining Northrop.
Survivors include his wife, the former Catherine Armes, of Pasadena; two sons; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.