Thoughts On Big Blue's New Boss

Regarding "Faith in a stranger" (Cover Story, Apr. 5), I find it hard to believe that out of 300,000 IBM employees, not one person is qualified to handle the CEO's job. Apparently, the board decided on Louis Gerstner because in addition to his many strengths he was not "IBM culture-bound." If the board had investigated IBM, it would have found a large number of mavericks, nonconformists, and change agents who long ago concluded that the status quo was not the best way for IBM.

I believe it unlikely that IBM's practice of promotion from within is at the core of its problems. Most senior executives are almost equal in management skills. Those who get the golden ring are like Napoleon: They are at the right place at the right time. Perhaps American industry's problem is not so much lack of qualified CEO timber but the decision makers' lack of capacity to recognize it.

Louis A. Pritchett

Hilton Head Island, S.C.