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.

VINCENT LEARSON

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.

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