Thomas Watson, Jr.

Thomas John Watson, Jr. (1914–1993) was the president of IBM from 1952 to 1971 and the eldest son of Thomas J. Watson, IBM's first president. He led the company into a period where it dominated the new computer industry. Among many honors, he was called "the greatest capitalist in history" and one of "100 most influential people of the 20th century". Thomas Watson, Jr. was born on January 14, 1914 just before his father was dismissed from his job at NCR. Then came two daughters, Jane and Helen, before the youngest child, Arthur Kittredge Watson, was born. Both sons were immersed in IBM from a very early age. He was taken on plant inspections — his first memory of such a visit (to the Dayton, Ohio factory) was at the age of five — business tours to Europe and he made appearances at IBM Hundred Per Cent Club meetings (annual gatherings for the company's elite sales representatives), even before he was old enough to attend school. At home his father's discipline was erratic and often harsh. Around the time he was thirteen, Tom Jr. suffered for six years with what might now be called clinical depression. Talking to a reporter in 1974, Watson, Jr. described his relationship with his...

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