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John Akers, Icon Of Westchester-Based IBM, Dies At 79

John Akers was the sixth CEO in IBM's history.
John Akers was the sixth CEO in IBM's history. Photo Credit: IBM

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- John Akers, who guided multi-national, Armonk-based tech giant IBM as chief executive officer during a critical time in its history, died Friday in Boston at age 79, according to a news release from IBM.

The cause of death was a stroke, according to a report in the New York Times .

IBM described Akers as "the iconic IBMer of his era" in the release announcing his death.

"With a strong jaw and athletic bearing, the Boston native came to epitomize the upright corporate citizen in the conservative blue suit," the release said.

Akers joined IBM in 1960 after serving in the Navy as a jet pilot and rose to become the company's sixth-ever CEO in 1985, a position he held until 1993, a period the New York Times described as "a turbulent time when the rise of the personal computer undercut the profitability of the mainframe computer business."

“People liked John Akers, because they knew he cared about them -- as employees, as people, and as IBMers," former IBM CEO Sam Palmisano said in the statement. “John was so committed to the institution and its culture."

For more on Akers, check the full IBM release here .

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