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Lawrence Eicher, Official of International Organization for Standardization, Remembered

New York, Mar 22, 2002

Dr. Lawrence D. Eicher, chief executive officer of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), died yesterday morning in a hospital in Geneva, Switzerland following complications from a heart attack and heart bypass surgery. He was 63.

In a message issued today to members of the U.S. standardization community, Dr. Mark Hurwitz, CAE, ANSI President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "for those of you that knew Larry Eicher, I'm sure you will agree that you were touched by a very special human being. He will be greatly missed."

"We at ANSI are overwhelmed with grief and sadness," Dr. Hurwitz added. "Larry's remarkable leadership, warmth and friendship extended well beyond the traditional work bond. He worked together with the ISO team and its membership as one family, caring for and helping each other."

A Colorado native, Eicher joined ISO in 1980 as Assistant Secretary-General and became its Secretary-General in 1986. Under his leadership, the organization has grown to become a network of national standards institutes representing more than 140 countries working in partnership with international organizations, governments, industry and consumer representatives. It is the source of the ISO 9000 standards for quality, the ISO 14000 standards for environmental management, and more than 13,000 International Standards for business, government and society.

Colleagues characterized Dr. Eicher's humanity and intelligence and expressed their tremendous sense of loss. "ISO lost a leader and visionnaire," said Beatrice Frey, a member of ISO staff, "and we will miss his guidance, his sense of humor, his friendly attitude, his way of caring for anybody, his availability, and so much more."

Dr. Eicher presided over ISO at a time when standards and conformity assessment were truly becoming important to trade and policy leaders and those who care about world commerce, Dr. Eicher was frequently invited to meet with the high-ranking industry and government officials in countries around the globe. Through these personal connections, he highlighted the importance of globally-relevant standardization and conformity assessment programs, promoted countless collaborative relationships, and greatly contributed to the development of International Standards in the service of society. As a staunch advocate for the widespread implementation of technology, Dr. Eicher led ISO into the electronic era - becoming one of the first international standards bodies to implement electronic communications with its members. Throughout his career, he also served as a champion for developing countries. He continually encouraged developed nations to provide advice, guidance and financial and technological assistance to those in need.

Prior to joining ISO, Dr. Eicher was a former director of the office of Engineering Standards at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (then known as the National Bureau of Standards (NBS). He joined NBS in 1974 as assistant to the director of the Institute for Applied Technology and in 1975 became chief of the Office of Standards Information, Analysis and Development of the National Engineering Laboratory. In this position he was actively involved with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the U.S. member body to ISO; he also served as chairman of the Interagency Subcommittee on Implementation of Executive Branch Policy for Federal Participation in and use of Voluntary Standards.

An avid traveler and wine connoisseur, Dr. Eicher enjoyed playing the piano for relaxation. He was an athlete as a youth and a teacher and coach in his early career; he continued his enjoyment of sport, especially skiing and tennis, until his death.

A graduate of the University of Northern Colorado, Dr. Eicher received his doctorate in physical chemistry from Texas A&M. He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Nancy Darby Eicher; three children, Scott (Denver), Leah (Denver) and Paige (Seattle), and five grandchildren. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, March 28, in Geneva. No U.S. memorial service is planned.

ANSI invites its colleagues around the world to join in conveying condolences to Dr. Eicher's wife and family, and to the staff of the International Organization for Standardization. "We understand the gravity of their profound loss and sadness," said Dr. Hurwitz, "and our prayers and thoughts are with them all at this very difficult time."

Messages of condolence are best addressed to Francine Forrest, Dr. Eicher's personal assistant, at the ISO headquarters in Geneva. When appropriate, Ms. Forrest will forward them to Dr. Eicher's family.

Contributions in memory of Dr. Eicher may be made to Médecins sans frontières (Doctors without Borders) at the following address:

Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS SA)
rue de la Confédération 2
1204 Genève/GE
Tel. +41 22 375 75 75
Account number: 240-376066.00Q

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