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Diebold, John 1926–2005

(John Theurer Diebold)

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born June 8, 1926, in Weehawken, NJ; died of esophageal cancer, December 26, 2005, in Bedford Hills, NY. Businessperson, consultant, and author. Considered a guru of computer automation, Diebold was the founder of an influential consulting firm that was far ahead of its time in championing electronic solutions for businesses. An engineer as well as a businessman, he first became interested in automation while in the U.S. Naval Reserve during World War II. After the war, he completed a B.S. at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, followed by a B.A. from Swarthmore College in 1949 and an M.B.A. from Harvard University in 1951. Diebold then joined the consulting firm Griffenhagen & Associates in New York City, which he later owned from 1957 to 1960. He founded Diebold Group, Inc., in 1954, followed by Diebold Europe S.A., the Management Science Training Institute, and, in 1967, John Diebold, Inc. As far back as the 1950s, when he released his prophetic book Automation: The Advent of the Automatic Factory (1952), Diebold was convinced that computer technology could vastly improve efficiency and services in a wide variety of businesses. This was even though computers at the time were huge machines often filling up entire rooms just to make basic calculations. He advocated and even developed networking systems for banks and hospitals, thus helping to bring about such innovations as automatic teller machines (ATM's) and improved medical record keeping. He also saw many applications for government records and services, such as fire departments and welfare agencies, and even predicted such inventions as refrigerators that could order groceries when supplies ran low. Diebold is regarded by many as one of the fathers of the information age. Among his other books are The Role of Business in Society (1983), Making the Future Work (1984), Business in the Age of Information (1985), Managing Information: The Challenge and the Opportunity (1985), and The Innovators (1990).

OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Chicago Tribune, December 30, 2005, Section 3, p. 9.

Los Angeles Times, December 30, 2005, p. B9.

New York Times, December 27, 2005, p. A21.

Washington Post, December 29, 2005, p. B6.

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Diebold, John 1926–2005

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