Watson, Thomas John, Jr., 1914–93, American industrialist, b. Dayton, Ohio. The son of Thomas John Watson, Sr., the founder of the International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), he joined the family business following his graduation from Brown Univ. in 1937. Except for service as a pilot in the Army Air Corps during World War II, he spent the rest of his career at IBM, becoming company president (1952–61), chairman (1961–71), and chairman of the executive board (1972–79). Watson early recognized the importance of computers and maintained IBM's dominance in that and other advanced technologies, while his management and marketing prowess turned IBM into a symbol of corporate excellence. An advocate for the reduction of nuclear arms, he was (1979–81) U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union.
See his memoirs, Father, Son & Co. (1990).