Table: The CEO Heritage
THOMAS J. WATSON
FOUNDER AT AGE 40, TENURE 1914-56
The founding father who built IBM to sell clocks, scales, and punched-card tabulators.
THOMAS J. WATSON JR.
APPOINTED AT AGE 42, TENURE 1956-71
Shepherded IBM into the Computer Age.
APPOINTED AT AGE 58, TENURE 1971-73
Streamlined IBM's organization, creating separate divisions for sales and manufacturing.
FRANK T. CARY
APPOINTED AT AGE 52, TENURE 1973-81
Tripled revenues and earnings even as IBM's share of the computer business fell by half, to 32%.
JOHN R. OPEL
APPOINTED AT AGE 56, TENURE 1981-85
In a golden era for IBM mainframes, he doubled revenues.
JOHN F. AKERS
APPOINTED AT AGE 51, TENURE 1985-93
Ousted by the board after racking up billions in losses. He wanted to break up the company.
LOUIS V. GERSTNER JR.
APPOINTED AT AGE 51, TENURE 1993-2002
Engineered IBM's turnaround, remaking the company into a services powerhouse.