It might be hard to believe that such a giant computer corporation as IBM once was in danger of closing down.
But it’s true, IBM would have long been gone today if not for the wisdom of one business leader named Louis Gerstner, Jr. Gerstner joined IBM as Chairman of the Board in 1993, a tense time for the company as it was facing a possible shutdown due to the feared obsolescence of the company’s core mainframe business.
Using his vast experience in handling business and wisdom in making crucial decisions, Gerstner resolved to keep IBM together.
This decision later proved to be Gerstner’s most important contribution to IBM as the company gradually recovered to become the solid powerhouse it is today.
Louis Gerstner, Jr. – Valuing Education As One’s Foundation in Life
Born on March 1, 1942, in New York, Gerstner realized the importance of education early on in life. Not satisfied with finishing his bachelor’s degree in engineering at Dartmouth College in 1963, Gerstner furthered his studies and acquired his MBA from the Harvard Business School (after only two years after he earned his bachelor’s degree).
In 1965, Gerstner became a Director at McKinsey & Co., a management consulting firm. After that, Gerstner moved on to become the President at American Express and CEO of one of its subsidiaries. He served at American Express for 11 years before becoming Chairman and CEO of RJR Nabisco, Inc. and then finally as Chairman of the Board at IBM where he became well-known as an ideal business leader.
During his time at IBM, Gerstner made the difficult decision of downsizing the company by more than 100,000 employees. This decision though had been worth the sacrifice for IBM as it once again became successful through its expansion of its IT services amid the popularity of the Internet.
Gerstner retired from IBM in 2002 and now serves as Chairman of The Carlyle Group.
The Louis Gerstner, Jr. Quick Bio
Full Name: Louis V. Gerstner, Jr.
Birthdate: March 1, 1942
Birthplace: New York
Key Success Traits: a risk-taker, a born leader, an advocate of quality education
As Gerstner was known as being an advocate of education, many academic institutes recognized him. In fact, many universities across the United States have awarded Gerstner with several honorary doctorate degrees. Aside from being an honorary doctor of philosophy in many universities, Gerstner was also recognized by Queen Elizabeth II as an honorary Knight of the British Empire in 2001.