Louis V. Gerstner Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of International Business Machines Corporation, will speak at Wake Forest University’s 1997 commencement ceremony on May 19.
Before joining IBM in 1993, Gerstner spent four years as chairman and chief executive officer of RJR Nabisco Inc. Prior to his RJR appointment, Gerstner had an 11-year career with the American Express Company, where he served as president of the parent company and chairman and CEO of American Express Travel Related Services Company, its largest subsidiary.
Previously, Gerstner was director of the management consulting firm of McKinsey & Co. He joined the company in 1965 after graduating from Harvard Business School with a master’s in business administration. Gerstner graduated from Dartmouth College in 1963 with a bachelor’s degree in engineering.
A life-time advocate of quality education, Gerstner has received numerous awards for his work in education and co-authored “Reinventing Education: Entrepreneurship in America’s Public Schools,” published in 1994.
While at IBM, Gerstner established a program in support of school reform. Through the program, IBM has initiated partnerships with 10 states and school districts where IBM technology and technical assistance are used to eliminate barriers to school reform and improve student performance.
Gerstner’s community involvements include serving on the boards of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the Smithsonian Institute. He also is a member of the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee and the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.
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