Each year after IBM releases its annual report, I update this chart to document the difference between two sets of IBM chief executive officers: (1) Two 20th Century leaders who managed a business and (2) Four 21st Century leaders who are managing a business to a stock price or to a stock price metric such as earnings-per-share.
Over the last sixteen years how have IBM's chief executive officers performed against some similar critical key performance metrics? The answer should not be a surprise to any IBMer or analyst that understands what it took to build the 20th Century IBM. The Watsons invested in making people more productive, processes more effective and products more valuable.
This is what happens when you invest in paper (stock buybacks/repurchases) instead.
Peter E. Greulich
Pete has been studying IBM and early American corporate history since his retirement in 2011. These are his thoughts and musings, and of those whose biographies he has read with links to articles and book reviews on this website.