Watson, Thomas J(ohn), Sr.

Watson, Thomas J(ohn), Sr.
born Feb. 17, 1874, Campbell, N.Y., U.S.
died June 19, 1956, New York, N.Y.

U.S. industrialist.

He went to work for the National Cash Register Co. in 1899. In 1914 he became president of the company that in 1924 became International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), which he built into the world's largest manufacturer of electric typewriters and data-processing equipment. Backing an aggressive research-and-development program, he assembled a highly motivated, well-trained, and well-paid staff, gave pep talks, enforced a strict dress code, and posted the now-famous "Think" sign in company offices. In the 1930s and '40s he pursued international trade, extending IBM's influence worldwide. Active in civic affairs, he was noted for his efforts on behalf of the arts and world peace. His son Thomas John Watson, Jr. (1914–93), succeeded him as president (1952), chairman (1961), and CEO (1972).

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Universalium. 2010.

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