Emil P. Martini Jr., 63, Dies; Builder of Bergen Brunswig : Innovator: The Orange-based firm was transformed from his father's regional company into one of the country's largest distributors of pharmaceuticals.

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Emil P. Martini Jr., who shepherded his father's regional company to one of the country's largest distributors of pharmaceuticals, died Monday after a long illness. He was 63.

Martini continued as chairman of the board of Orange-based Bergen Brunswig Corp. after his retirement as chief executive in August, 1990.

Known as an innovative leader, Martini had the drug industry's first computerized inventory and accounting system installed in 1959. In 1974, he bought hand-held devices that allowed pharmacists to punch in orders over telephone lines.

His business philosophy was to control costs with modern technology and to emphasize customer service, he told listeners at his retirement ceremony. He often quoted Polaroid's Edwin Land: "When your product becomes obsolete, make sure you're the one who obsoletes it."

In 1952 as a buyer-in-training, he joined his father's wholesale Bergen Drug Co. in Hackensack, N.J. Martini was elected president in 1956 after his father's death.

In 1969, he negotiated the acquisition of the much larger Los Angeles-based Brunswig Drug Co. The company, renamed Bergen Brunswig Corp., moved its headquarters to Orange in 1985.

In 1982, Bergen Brunswig bought Commtron Corp., based in Des Moines, Iowa. It grew into the nation's leading distributor of videotaped movies. Commtron was sold three weeks ago for $78 million.

In his years at the helm, Martini increased company sales of $10 million in 1956 to $4.8 billion in fiscal 1991.

He was succeeded as chief executive by his brother, Robert E. Martini, with whom he worked for more than 30 years.

Emil Martini was born Aug. 9, 1928, in Teaneck, N.J. and graduated from the Purdue University School of Pharmacy in 1950 with a bachelor of science degree. In 1984, Purdue awarded him an honorary doctoral degree for "outstanding leadership."

He received the Information Systems Executive Leadership Award from UCLA's John E. Anderson Graduate School of Management in 1989.

Martini served on the Board of Councilors for the USC School of Pharmacy and on the advisory committee for the Rutgers University College of Pharmacy. He was also on the board of trustees of Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation and was chairman of the U.S. Industry Finance Committee for the United Nations.

Martini is survived by his wife, Heather; a daughter, Cathy Martini; his sons, Emil III and Brian; his brother; a grandson, Taylor Martini, and stepchildren Prima Martini, Delaree Bau, Anne Morales and Stephen Szabo.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Tuesday in the Crystal Cathedral arboretum, 12141 Lewis St., Garden Grove.

The family requests that no flowers be sent and that contributions be directed to the Emil P. Martini Jr. Memorial Fund at Park Century School, a school for children with learning disabilities. The school's address is 2040 Stoner Ave., Los Angeles 90025.

Emil P. Martini Jr.

Aug. 9, 1928-March 16, 1992

Born: in Teaneck, N.J.

Graduated: Purdue University School of Pharmacy, bachelor of science degree, 1950.

Career:

1952: Joined Bergen Drug Co., in Hackensack, N.J.

1956: Elected company president.

1959: Installed the drug industry's first computerized inventory and accounting system.

1969: Negotiated purchase of Los Angeles-based Brunswig Drug Co.

1982: Bergen Brunswig bought Des Moines-based Commtron Corp., a distributor of videotaped movies.

August, 1990: Retired but retained position as board chairman.

Honors: Information Systems Executive Leadership Award from UCLA's John E. Anderson Graduate School of Management, 1989.

Member, Board of Councilors for the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy.

Member, advisory committee for the Rutgers University College of Pharmacy.

Trustee, Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation.

Chairman, U.S. Industry Finance Committee for the United Nations.

Chairman of the board, Park Century School, a Los Angeles school for children with learning disabilities.

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