Thomas John Watson, Jr.

computer industry executive
Born: 1/8/1914
Birthplace: Dayton, Ohio

Though he won a deferment by serving in the Air Force in World War II, Watson was destined to follow in his father's footsteps as the head of International Business Machines (IBM). Having joined in 1937, he became president of IBM in 1952, and is widely credited for having committed IBM to its investments and innovations in the computer industry. In 1961, he became chairman, and in 1962 the company introduced the AS/360 line of computers, which secured IBM's place in the computer history textbooks. He continued as chairman through to 1971, when he became chairman of the executive committee, remaining in that role until his retirement. He served as ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1979–81.

Died: 12/31/1993