Drew Valentine, Dave Barclay Affirmative Action award winner at the 2018 BEYA STEM Conference, posted a condolence note on LinkedIn to mark the passing of Ira D. Hall, who he recalls as an IBM icon and corporate role model.
Valentine is currently vice president of people & culture for IBM Systems & the IBM Technical Community. He met Ira Hall when he first joined IBM right out of grad school. “I couldn’t help but think that this brother was ‘cool as the other side of the pillow’ and began modeling my own corporate career after his, taking chances outside the box they put you in. RIH Brother Ira Hall,” Valentine wrote.
In the obituary Valentine shared on LinkedIn, Hall is commended as IBM’s first African American corporate officer.
One of Hall’s last interviews was with The HistoryMakers in 2022. Hall was born on August 23, 1944, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Hall received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1966 from Stanford University and his MBA in 1976 from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, both in Palo Alto, California.
Hall joined Hewlett-Packard (HP) in 1967 in corporate marketing. He launched the Stanford Mid-Peninsula Urban Coalition in Palo Alto with HP’s founders William Hewlett and David Packard in 1968 and served as executive director for six years.
In 1970, Hall was the founding president and CEO of MidPen Housing, which built and managed housing for people with low to moderate income. During business school, Hall returned to HP in corporate international. After business school, in 1976, Hall became a corporate finance investment banker at Morgan Stanley. In 1982, Hall became a senior vice president at L.F. Rothschild, Unterberg, Towbin.
He then joined IBM in 1985, first serving as an assistant to the treasurer, then as director of corporate business development, assistant general manager of finance and administration for the computer integrated manufacturing systems unit, and corporate assistant treasurer, becoming IBM’s first African American corporate officer.
In 1990, Hall became treasurer of IBM U.S., and in 1994, director of international operations for IBM. In 1998, Hall joined Texaco as general manager of alliance management. The following year, he was promoted to treasurer. In 2002, Hall became president and CEO of UCM, LLC, a Wall Street investment management firm with over $2 billion in assets under management. Hall retired from UCM, LLC, in 2004.
IBM mourns the passing of Ira D. Hall, our first African American corporate officer who said, “Service will produce its own reward.” We are grateful for Ira’s years of service and memorable leadership at IBM U.S. pic.twitter.com/fPO2m2xXNz
— IBM News (@IBMNews) January 12, 2023
In 1970, Hall became the first African American and youngest member of Stanford University’s board of trustees. He was appointed to the California Governor’s State Land Use Task Force in 1973. In 1987, Hall was nominated by President Ronald Reagan and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a governor of the United States Postal Service, chairing its audit committee.
In 1993, he served on the Clinton-Gore Presidential Transition Team, as chair of the Governmental Operations sub-committee. He chaired the U.S. Treasury’s Thrift Depositor Protection Oversight Board, the advisory board of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project at Stanford University, the Executive Leadership Council, and Miami-Dade County’s Adrienne Arsht Performing Arts Center.
Hall also has served on the boards of Pepsi Bottling Group, American Express Funds, TECO Energy, Praxair, Inc., Imagistics International, and the Jackie Robinson Foundation and on the Stanford Alumni Executive Board and the Dean’s Advisory Council of the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
He established the Ira D. Hall Fellowship at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 2009. In 2017, he endowed at Stanford University the Ira D. Hall Award for Service Leadership Before Age 30. Hall was the 2020 recipient of Stanford GSB’s Ernest C. Arbuckle Award. (Photo courtesy of Stanford).