As IBM president, and later chairman and CEO, Thomas J. Watson, Jr., writes and speaks often on IBM's basic beliefs, including the company's commitment to provide the best possible service to its customers. After retiring in 1971, he remains a member of IBM's board of directors until 1984, taking time out from 1979 to 1981 to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union.
Of Watson, IBM Chairman and CEO Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., later says: "Perhaps the most important legacy of his leadership can be summed up in just three words: " 'IBM means service.' "