John F. Akers
John F. Akers, of Westport, Connecticut, retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the IBM Corporation, died on August 22, 2014, at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He was 79. Mr. Akers was born in Boston, Massachusetts on December 28, 1934, to the late Kenneth F. and Mary J. (Reed) Akers. He graduated from Yale University in 1956, was an All-Ivy League hockey player and received Yale University Athletics’ George H.W. Bush, Lifetime of Achievement Award, in 2001.
Following Yale, Mr. Akers joined the United States Navy, where he served as a carrier pilot from 1956 to 1960, attaining the rank of Lieutenant.
Upon completing his military service, he joined IBM as a sales trainee in San Francisco. He served in many capacities in IBM including Group Executive and Senior Vice President before becoming IBM’s sixth Chief Executive Officer in 1985 and Chairman of the Board in 1986. Mr. Akers retired from IBM on May 1, 1993. Throughout his professional career, he held positions with several regional and national corporations. He served on many boards including W. R. Grace & Co., Hallmark Cards, Inc., The New York Times, and PepsiCo, Inc. He is a former member of the Board of Trustees of the California Institute of Technology, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the United Way.
As an avid golfer and sports fan, he enjoyed combining his business background with his love of golf by working with caddie scholarship programs including helping establish the Worthy and Fran Johnson Caddie Scholarship Foundation and serving on the board of the Sankaty Head Foundation and Caddie Camp.
Proud of his New England heritage, Mr. Akers was an avid reader of history and strong advocate for education, establishing scholarship funds and serving on local school boards.
Mr. Akers is survived by his wife of 54 years, Susan Davis Akers, his son Scott, his two daughters Pamela Sjodin (husband Kevin) and Annie Klyver (husband Adam), and 10 grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements are private. Memorial contributions can be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, 4899 Belfort Road, Suite 300, Jacksonville, FL 32256.