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Lotus position: IBM kills the name, but software and founders live on

Julie Sartain | Feb. 5, 2013
Thirty-one years ago, Massachusetts-based software developers Mitch Kapor and Jonathan Sachs created a program — an electronic spreadsheet — that would change the world. A year later, on Jan. 26, 1983, Lotus Development Corp. released Lotus 1-2-3 for the IBM PC and grossed $53 million in sales. The following year, sales tripled to more than $150 million.

"I think my record as CEO at Lotus is well documented already as is my role in leading the company from a desktop software business which faced extreme competitive challenges to a new network-based business at the time that computer networks were just becoming important," says Manzi.

Since 1995, Manzi has had many ventures in the works and been involved (including creation, development, and financing) with many new technology companies. For example; he's been the chairman of StoneGate Capital Group, LLC since 1995; invested in and became chairman of a web and voice conferencing company called Interwise; was appointed to board of directors of Thermo Electron Corporation (2000); then became chairman of the board at Thermo Electron in December 2003. In 2006, Thermo Electron acquired Fisher Scientific and Manzi was chairman of the combined Thermo Fisher Scientific company, a life sciences industry worth $12 billion. He was also named chairman at the following companies: Freshdirect (2011) in New York City; Skyword, Inc., in Boston; and RayV.

In addition, he has served as a consultant, director, or board member for the following companies: Partners Healthcare;; McKinsey & Company; Gather; SOMA Networks; Continental Grain Company; Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston; plus he is as an active member of the Council on Foreign Relations; a member of the Advisory Committee of Business Breakthrough; and Trustee Emeritus of Colgate University.

"As for IBM dropping Lotus as a brand, this is not something I am going to lose sleep about," says Manzi.

Louis Gerstner

Louis V. Gerstner is another leader in the Lotus/IBM story who has garnered much notoriety and respect from his colleagues for his place and contribution to the success of Lotus Notes. Gerstner was chairman and CEO of IBM from April 1993 until February 2002. He is credited for restoring IBM to its former glory. He laid off thousands, restructured management, reorganized the company's infrastructure, modernized the products (hardware and software), while simultaneously revamping the company's mainframe division. As a result of his efforts, Gertsner grew Lotus products from 2 million users to over 22 million users and re-established Big Blue as a corporate giant.

Before IBM, Gerstner was chairman and CEO of RJR Nabisco (four years). Prior to Nabisco, he spent 11 years at American Express as president of the parent company and chairman and CEO of its largest subsidiary, American Express Travel Related Services Company. During Gerstner's time, American Express membership increased from 8.6 million to 30.7 million.

In 1994, Lou Gerstner co-authored a book titled "Reinventing Education: Entrepreneurship in America's Public Schools " in line with his "Reinventing Education" program, a partnership with 21 states and school districts. The program uses IBM technology and provides technical assistance to students and faculty throughout these districts to aid and maintain student performance in these areas .


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