When IBM moved its headquarters from New York City to suburban Armonk in the mid-1960s, it did so largely to avoid Communist bombs some feared would fall on the metropolis.
Now Communist China's Lenovo Group--which recently bought a majority stake in IBM's PC operation--is moving its headquarters to Armonk, where it will be run by a longtime IBM executive.
Lenovo's new chief executive Stephen Ward will direct the Chinese firm's global operation from Armonk, in the US state of New Jersey just outside New York.
Ward was most recently senior vice-president and general manager of IBM's Personal Systems Group.
IBM chairman Thomas Watson dedicated the Armonk headquarters in 1964. Around that time, president John Kennedy and New York governor Nelson Rockefeller had been fighting to see who could do more to encourage the building of nuclear bomb shelters.
IBM had been offering interest-free loans to its employees to build fallout shelters in their homes. Watson built one in his Connecticut home and when new IBM facilities were built, they usually came with bomb shelters.
At the time, the fear stemmed from the Communist Soviet Union and its nuclear weapons arsenal--China hadn't yet exploded an atomic bomb.
Hong Kong-listed Lenovo began as a state-owned company, and is still partly owned by the Communist government of China.
Issue: 315 | May 2013
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