Thomas J. Watson, Sr.

Photo

Thomas J. Watson (Senior) 1874-1956, Chairman of International Business Machines Corporation and Columbia University Trustee. Watson oversaw the long and productive relationship between IBM and Columbia that began with Ben Wood's Statistical Bureau (1929), continued through Wallace Eckert's Astronomical Computing Bureau (1937), and the Thomas J. Watson Scientific Computing Computing Laboratory at Columbia University (1945-70).

Of Watson Senior, Herb Grosch says [60]:

The Old Man practiced -- without consciously stating or perhaps even recognizing the idea -- what Tony Blair, the prime minister of England, used to call "stakeholding." ... But the original stakeholder concept was that the privileges extended to large organizations, and especially profit-making corporations, by the broader society must be paid back to a variety of destinations. You had to pay back the shareholders who furnished money. That, of course, is the dominant factor today and almost the only thing that anybody talks about. But you also had to be good to your employees. You had to be good to your customers. You had to be conscious of the arts and the sciences, which the old man was pushing at the time that he made these decisions. Instinctively, although it was not a big thing back in the '40s and the '50s, you had to support the environment. And you had to support the organizing forces like government by paying healthy taxes.

1948 Photo: [40].

Links: IBM biography

Most recent update: Wed Aug 4 11:17:44 2004


Frank da Cruz / fdc@columbia.edu / Columbia University Computing History