By 1993, IBM had lost its way. Beset by competition from so-called clone makers, the company was slow to respond to the fast-changing demands of the PC era. The then-CEO, John Akers, even considered a plan to break IBM up into several smaller companies. That's when the board decided it was time for an executive change. Reaching outside the company, it appointed Louis Gerstner as its top executive in 1993. The first outsider to head the
company, Gerstner brought IBM back from the brink, engineering its successful transformation into a provider of software and services.