John F. Akers, 79, Of Westport, Retired Chairman And CEO, IBM Corporation

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WESTPORT, Conn. - John F. Akers of Westport died Aug. 22. He was 79.

Akers was born Dec. 28, 1934, in Boston, Mass., to Kenneth F. and Mary J. (Reed) Akers. He graduated from Yale University in 1956. Following Yale, he 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. He retired from IBM in 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 was a former member of the Board of Trustees of the California Institute of Technology, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the United Way.

Akers is survived by his wife, Susan Davis Akers; son, Scott; daughters, Pamela Sjodin (Kevin) and Annie Klyver (Adam); and 10 grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements are private.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, 4899 Belfort Road, Suite 300, Jacksonville, FL 32256.

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