Room At The Top

At IBM, the succession from one chief executive to another has always been as orderly as the passing of the crown from one generation of the British royal family to the next. Indeed, in its 78-year history, Big Blue has had just six chiefs: The legendary Tom Watson Sr. led the company for decades, and his son took on the job for the next 15 years. Succeeding s all rose gracefully from president to become chairman. "Many American companies seem to have a tenure for the of only four to five years," says Chairman John F. Akers. "That's not the way IBM has historically approached the challenge."

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