Thomas J. Watson, Jr.

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Thomas J. Watson, Jr. (1914 - 1993) was born in Dayton, Ohio. In 1937, Watson graduated from Brown University and "joined IBM [then owned by his father, Thomas J. Watson, Sr.] as a salesman in downtown Manhattan."[1]

During World War II (1940-1945), he served as a B-24 pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He married Olive Field Cawley in 1941, with whom he had a son and five daughters. Following the war, in 1946, Watson "returned from war and rejoined IBM, [and] within a year he became vice president and a member of the board of directors." In 1956, he became IBM's CEO. In 1971, after suffering a heart attack, he stepped down as chairman. T. Vincent Learson assumed the position of CEO and Watson "remained on the board and served as chairman of the executive committee. Watson stepped down from the board at IBM in 1985"[2]

From 1979 to 1981, Watson served as U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union. He retired at age 70, "ending more than 70 years of Watson family leadership at IBM. He remained chairman emeritus and a member of IBM's advisory board." In 1993, Watson died at 79 in Greenwich, CT.[3]

"Before becoming President of IBM, Thomas J. Watson Jr.'s determination did not equal his father's. His performance at school was poor, and he was only interested in flying. World War II, in which he served as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force, changed his life. He became resolute in his aim to succeed his father at IBM and to prepare the company for the computer age that was just beginning. He asserted himself against his father, and promoted the development of electronic punched card technology and data processing. Whereas Watson Sr. stands for IBM's success as a punched card company, Watson Jr. stands for its success in computer technology."[4]

Wikipedia: Thomas J. Watson, Sr.

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External links

  • Jury, Pritzker Architecture Prize, accessed September 16, 2009.