CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Dr. Edwin H. Land, the creative genius behind the revolutionary Polaroid instant camera process, resigned Tuesday as a director and chairman of the board of Polaroid Corp.
Land, 73, an inventor with a keen interest in the human eye, said he was ending his nearly 50-year association with the firm to devote his energies to a non-profit institution designed to support basic scientific research.
'I look forward to a new period of creative freedom for myself and to a generation of industrial grandeur for Polaroid,' he said.
Polaroid said Land left behind a legacy and a great company 'that is testimony to his technical genius, his leadership and his social ideals.'
Land will continue to serve as a consultant and his family and associates will retain more than 3 million shares, or about 10 percent, of Polaroid stock.
In 1979, Land announced his intention to create the Rowland Institute for Science Inc., and reduce his activities at Polaroid.
Land said the institute was 'dedicated to achieving deeper insights in fields ranging from physical chemistry to human color vision.'
'The research I have already been involved in at the institute seems so significant that I regard it as important not to delay further my move to this new organization,' he said.
Land holds a total of 533 U.S. Patents. He was responsible for the first modern polarizers for light in 1927, a sequence of subsequent polarizers and for the theory and practice of many applications for polarized light.
These became the basis for the formation of the first Polaroid company in 1935. The firm introduced the first instant camera in 1948.
The board of directors of Polaroid has elected William J. McCune Jr., 67, chairman of the board in addition to his position of president and chief executive officer.
McCune said everyone at Polaroid was 'personally affected by (Land's) decision to leave the company.'
'However, the history of his scientific, technical and business achievements remains our history, He has created a great company that is testimony to his technical genius, his leadership and his social ideals,' McCune said.
'Now as he begins a new enterprise, we know that with his extraordinary combination of intellect, dedication and spirit, it will blossom,' McCune said.