John F. Akers became chief executive officer of IBM in February 1985. In June 1986, he assumed the additional position of chairman of the board. He retired from both positions on April 1, 1993 after 33 years of service to IBM.
A graduate of Yale University with a B.S. degree, Mr. Akers joined IBM in 1960 as a sales trainee in San Francisco following active duty as a Navy carrier pilot. After various marketing assignments, he was named president of the Data Processing Division, then IBM's largest domestic marketing unit, in 1974 at age 39. He became a vice president in 1976 and was named assistant group executive, plans and controls, Data Processing Marketing Group. He was appointed group executive of the Data Processing Marketing Group in 1978. In 1981 he became group executive, Information Systems and Communications Group.
Mr. Akers was elected a senior vice president in 1982 and IBM president and director in 1983. In 1984 he was elected chief executive officer effective February 1985.