Profiling the 50 Most: Mike Beasley

Monique Morris of the NAACP congratulates Mike Beasley on the 10th anniversary of his first selection to the 50 Most as's John Templeton looks on.

Mike Beasley was Pinnacle Award winner for the first 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology in 1999. His career and his commitment to reaching back has continued to grow since then.

Beasley is a Venture Partner of Nobska Ventures.  Mr. Beasley is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Rocket Software, highly profitable, high growth OEM software development firm based in Newton, Massachusetts.

Prior to founding Legenta in partnership with Nobska Group, Mr. Beasley was the CEO of Icing Software, an independent business unit of IBM Software, founded to increase revenues and profitability from legacy and other software that IBM considered “non-core.”  Mr. Beasley initiated Icing’s formation in 1992, and together with a small team of outstanding managers developed a valuation and management methodology that identified which products to acquire, and how to substantially improve their financial performance.  The Icing team also identified untapped early stage opportunities considered “too small” for IBM to consider.  For instance, Mr. Beasley identified an untapped opportunity to develop database tools, an area IBM had considered uninteresting.  Utilizing development resources external to IBM, and initial capital of just $500,000, he and his team built a $200mm+ Database Tools business with 50% net margins, for which Mr. Beasley received an IBM Executive Leadership Award.

During Mr. Beasley’s tenure, Icing’s incremental revenue and profitability grew at a compound annual rate exceeding 100%, making it one of IBM’s highest performing business units.  At the time of his departure in 2001, Icing comprised $850 million dollars in annual revenue.

Mike Beasley, first Pinnacle winner in 1999

Mr. Beasley joined IBM in 1971 and his career has centered on software and hardware engineering/business management.  His specific areas of expertise include large-scale mission critical product development in Database Management (both relational and hierarchical), File Management, Network Testing, Application Development Languages, Business Professional (Office), and Artificial Intelligence.

Beasley is formerly the Chairman of the Board of MESA (Math Engineering and Science Achievement) for the University of California.  He earned his Masters degree from the Sloan School of Management at MIT.