In Memoriam: Peter W. Schutz, 1930-2017

Normally we do not include memorials to public figures in this section, but the case of Peter Schutz, who passed away on October 29, 2017, is an exception due to a unique connection between him and two members of the Midwest 356 Club. As is well known, Schutz become the CEO of Porsche in 1981, when the company was losing money for the first time in its history. He is credited with turning the company around financially, in part by reversing the decision made before his arrival to discontinue production of the 911 sports car.  Less well known is that Schutz was an alumnus of the Illinois Institute of Technology, and that in 1987 his alma mater awarded him its highest honor, the Henry T. Heald Award.  It just so happens that Club member Pat Yanahan is another IIT alumnus and was present in a very special way at the award ceremony.  Upon the news of Schutz’s death, Pat shared with your webmaster his recollection of the event.

I will always remember when he was named Man of the Year by our mutual University.  Peter was honored and Bob Hindman and I were invited to bring our Porsches and display them in the library at the Illinois Institute of Technology.  It was a great feat since they constructed long ramps to get our cars up the steep stairs into the entrance.  Then we had a team push us around the stacks of books to the display area.

It was an afternoon and evening display open to the students. I was queried by a student who stated he would never be able to afford such a beautiful vehicle.  I shared with him that I was an alum and if he studied and worked hard, he too could own a Porsche.

We must remember Peter for saving the 911 and literally saving the Porsche organization.

As luck would have it, the award announcement and ceremony were documented in Technology News, the IIT student newspaper.  Here are the clippings: