Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. was chairman of the board of IBM Corporation from April 1993 until his retirement in December 2002. He served as chief executive officer of IBM from 1993 until March 2002. In January 2003 he assumed the position of chairman of The Carlyle Group, a global private equity firm located in Washington, DC.
Prior to joining IBM, Mr. Gerstner served for four years as chairman and chief executive officer of RJR Nabisco, Inc. This was preceded by an 11-year career at American Express Company, where he was president of the parent company and chairman and CEO of its largest subsidiary, American Express Travel Related Services Company. Prior to that, Mr. Gerstner was a director of the management consulting firm of McKinsey & Co., Inc., which he joined in 1965.
A native of Mineola, New York, Mr. Gerstner received a bachelor's degree in engineering from Dartmouth College in 1963 and an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1965. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has been awarded honorary doctorates from a number of U.S. universities.
Mr. Gerstner is a director of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and a member of the advisory boards of DaimlerChrysler and Sony Corporation. He is vice chairman of the board of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, a member of the board of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of The Business Council, and a fellow of the America-China Forum. In past years he served on the Boards of The New York Times Company, American Express Company, AT&T, Caterpillar, Inc., Jewel Companies, Melville Corporation, and RJR Nabisco Holdings Co.
A lifetime advocate of the importance of quality education, Mr. Gerstner recently created a Commission on Teaching to develop specific policy recommendations to deal with the teaching crisis America is facing. From 1996 to 2002 he co-chaired Achieve, an organization created by U.S. Governors and business leaders to drive high academic standards for public schools in the United States. At IBM he established Reinventing Education as a strategic partnership with 21 states and school districts which utilize IBM technology and technical assistance to eliminate key barriers to school reform and improve student performance. He is co-author of the book Reinventing Education: Entrepreneurship in America's Public Schools (Dutton 1994).
He has received numerous awards for his work in education, among them the Cleveland E. Dodge Medal for Distinguished Service to Education - Teachers College, Columbia University, and the Distinguished Service to Science and Education award from the American Museum of Natural History.
In recognition of his efforts on behalf of public education, as well as his business accomplishments, Mr. Gerstner was awarded the designation of honorary Knight of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in June 2001.