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Thomas J. Watson Sr. 1941-1945

IBM CEOs: Leadership ⇔ Challenges 
⇔ Transformations in the IT Century

Thomas J. Watson Sr. 1941-1945
(Highlights – Milestones – Excerpts)

Japanese planes are bombing Pearl Harbor – December 7, 1941

Watson is freezing his own compensation at the 1939 level not wanting profit from wartime production

Watson limited corporate profits on munitions to <1.5% setting aside that amount for widows and education of children of employees killed in service.

In 1941 IBM hired a legally blind employee, psychologist Dr. Michael Supa, to assist in the hiring of 181 people with disabilities in the next 2 years. 

Ruth Leach first IBM female VP

IBM Radiotype Division: IBM’s greatest single contribution to the successful prosecution of war

IBM Cryptographic Equipment deciphering enemy codes

September 10, 1943, Thomas Watson, Sr., dedicated the company’s first West Coast manufacturing facility, a card plant in San Jose, Cal.

October 1943, Watson had instructed his R&D chief to “find the most outstanding Professor on electronics and get him for IBM.”

Installed base 1943: 10.200 tabulators on rental

June-July 1943: preparing IBM for peace

August 7, 1944: Harvard Mark I computer also called IBM Automated Sequence Controlled Calculator (ASCC) developed with Howard Aiken
IBM becomes the first corporation to support the United Negro College Fund

March 1945: Watson formed IBM’s first Department of Pure Science and hired Wallace Eckert to produce the SSEC – 250x faster than ASCC

June 1945: John von Neumann published his Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer (EDVAC) Report

IBM contributions to win WW II: by the end of the war, 32 different ordnance items had been mass-produced at IBM’s manufacturing sites

IBM Selected Statistics for Business Machine Companies 1939-1945  

1945: Revenue 138 M$; Net Earnings 11 M$. Employees: 18.257.