Cofounder of Loews, Bulova’s parent firm, dies

Lawrence A. Tisch, a self-made billionaire and cofounder of the Loews Corp., which owns Bulova Corp., died Nov. 15. He was 80.

Loews’ holdings include hotels, a tobacco company, an insurance firm, but the two best-known to the public are probably CBS Inc. and Bulova Corp., which under Loews was rescued from bankruptcy and revitalized. Founded in 1875, Bulova, headquartered in New York City, produces some of the best-known watches in the U.S. watch market, including Bulova, Wittnauer, Accutron, and Caravelle. It was acquired by Loews and became its subsidiary in 1979.

Lawrence Tisch’s son, Andrew H. Tisch (chairman of Loews executive committee), was president of the Bulova Watch Co. and Bulova Corp. from 1979 to 1990, and is currently chairman of its board of directors. He and his team, including Herbert Hofman (now president and chief executive officer) and Paul Sayegh (now chief operating officer), revitalized the company, which, despite a strong name, was in financial difficulties. Rather than continuing to manufacture everything, Bulova began buying parts and watches from suppliers, improved its sales force and retailers’ confidence, and expanded its product line and made it more fashionable. By the mid-1980s, Bulova was breaking even and by the time Andrew Tisch left to become chairman and CEO of Lorillard, it was again in the black.

Most recently, Bulova launched an international strategy to enhance its global position while protecting the integrity of its brand name abroad by reasserting control over development and marketing worldwide.