Patrick Joseph McGovern


Patrick Joseph McGovern Jr. (August 11, 1937 – March 19, 2014) was an American businessman, and chairman and founder of International Data Group (IDG), a company with subsidiaries in technology publishing, research, event management and venture capital.

Patrick Joseph McGovern
IDG Chairman Patrick Joseph McGovern.jpg
McGovern awarded the "Innovation Award" for VIA Nano Processor in 2009
Patrick Joseph McGovern Jr.

August 11, 1937
Queens, New York
DiedMarch 19, 2014(2014-03-19) (aged 76)
Alma materMassachusetts Institute of Technology (B.S., Biophysics, 1959)
Occupation(s)businessman, publisher, entrepreneur
Known forfounding Computerworld magazine, large donation to MIT to found the McGovern Institute for Brain Research

In September, 2013, he was listed on the Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans, having a net worth of $5.1 billion.[1]


Forbes magazine wrote that in the 1950s McGovern earned a college scholarship by designing an unbeatable tic-tac-toe program. During his sophomore year he worked at the MIT student newspaper The Tech on the features staff. McGovern received a degree in course 7, or biology/life sciences, from MIT, in 1959.,[2][3]

After university, his first job was writing for the first computer magazine, Edmund C. Berkeley's Computers & Automation. In 1964, McGovern founded International Data Corporation (IDC), which produced a computer-industry database and published the newsletter EDP Industry & Market Report (based on "ADP Newsletter", published by The Diebold Group). After three years, the company was losing money and McGovern contemplated liquidating it, until in 1967 he hit on the idea of making the newsletter into a weekly newspaper, Computerworld.[4] After failing to wrest control of "Computer and Automation" from his friend and mentor, Ed Berkeley, he subsequently started the magazine PC World.

In 1980 he created one of the first American-Chinese joint ventures, and in 1997 Forbes estimated that "Pat McGovern has more readers in China than the People's Daily does."[5] In 1991 his company published "DOS For Dummies", the first of the very popular "For Dummies" series of books explaining various subjects to the lay person.[6] Bloomberg News reported that IDG had 280 million regular readers of its publications, and annual revenues of $3.6 billion.[7]

Personal lifeEdit

Although born in Queens, New York, his family moved when he was a child to Philadelphia, where he delivered newspapers at the age of eight. He was divorced once. He was the father of two children and two stepchildren, and divided his time between Hillsborough, California and Hollis, New Hampshire. He and his second wife donated $350 million to MIT to found the McGovern Institute for Brain Research. He was a trustee of MIT and of MIT's Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. He also served on Society for Science & the Public's board of trustees.[8]

At the time of his death, surviving family members included his wife, Lore Harp McGovern, a son, Patrick McGovern, daughter Elizabeth McGovern, stepdaughters Michelle Harp Bethel and Dina Jackson, and nine grandchildren.[9]


In May 2012, Patrick McGovern had open heart surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. He died March 19, 2014, aged 76.[10][11]

IDG legacyEdit

After his death, the ownership of IDG was transferred to the McGovern Foundation; in 2016, the foundation retained Goldman Sachs to explore a sale.[12] On March 29, China Oceanwide Holdings Group announced the close of the acquisition of International Data Group, Inc. ("IDG").[13] In June 2021, it was announced that the company had again been sold, to The Blackstone Group, for $1.3 billion.


  1. ^ "Profile: Patrick McGovern", Forbes magazine,; accessed May 16, 2011.
  2. ^ "MIT 2009 Bronze Beaver Award Winners" Archived 2014-03-22 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Patrick J. McGovern, 1937-2014". McGovern Institute. MIT. 20 March 2014. Retrieved 3 December 2020.
  4. ^ Johnson, Maryfran (2002-09-30). "Computerworld's Founder Looks Back on 35 Years". Computerworld. Retrieved 2023-04-25.
  5. ^ "Patrick J. McGovern, 76; founded International Data Group - The Boston Globe". Retrieved 2023-04-25.
  6. ^ The Boston Globe[1] by J.M. Lawrence, March 23, 2014
  7. ^ Bloomberg[2] by Laurence Arnold, March 20, 2014
  8. ^ "Press Release - Nobel Laureate Horvitz to Take Helm at Society for Science & the Public; Craig R. Barrett, Patrick J. McGovern, and Joe Palca join Distinguished Board; H. Robert Horvitz Elected Chair", press release, Society for Science & the Public, WASHINGTON, D.C., October 13, 2010
  9. ^ Yardley, William (2014-03-24). "Patrick McGovern Dies at 76; Founded Publishing Empire". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-12-11.
  10. ^ "Patrick J. McGovern: 1937-2014", Obituary from the McGovern Institute at MIT.
  11. ^ Miller, Stephen; Ante, Spencer E., "Patrick McGovern Dies at 76: Publisher Helped Define Computer Age and Made World Safe for 'Dummies'"], The Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2014
  12. ^ Seave, Ava. "Tech Publisher IDG Transforming Itself From Within As It Braces For Sale Or Breakup". Forbes. Retrieved 2016-12-11.
  13. ^ "China Oceanwide Completes Acquisition of IDG • IDG". IDG. Retrieved 2017-07-04.

Further readingEdit

  • Mearian, Lucas (2017). "At the start: Pat McGovern and the birth of Computerworld". Computerworld. IDG Communications, Inc. Archived from the original on 2020-01-18. Retrieved 2020-01-18. [3]

External linksEdit

  • Official Biography
  • MIT announcement of the McGovern Institute
  • McGovern Institute for Brain Research website
  • Pat McGovern Playlist Appearance on WMBR's Dinnertime Sampler radio show November 3, 2004