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History of Ecma

By 1959 the growing use of computers, built by several different manufacturers, showed the necessity for standardization in operational techniques, such as programming, and also input and output codes.

Such standards would make it possible to use data prepared for, or even by, a computer made by one manufacturer to be on a computer made by another with the minimum of alteration. Also it would avoid duplication of work in the preparation of, for example, programming languages by several manufacturers.

Though certain National Bodies had, before 1960, started work on standards in this field, e.g. paper tape and codes, there did not appear to be collaboration between them, nor between the manufacturers themselves. Different countries may have different requirements, so that it may not be necessary to have the same standards everywhere, but the standards should at least be compatible.

With the object of co-ordinating such work, the Heads of the Companies of longest standing in Europe in the data processing field (Compagnie des Machines Bull, IBM World Trade Europe Corporation and International Computers and Tabulators Limited) sent a joint letter to all the known computer manufacturers within Europe, inviting these companies to send representatives to a meeting.

This meeting was held on April 27, 1960, in Brussels; it was decided that an association of manufacturers should be formed which would be called European Computer Manufacturers Association or for short ECMA, and a Committee was nominated to prepare the formation of the Association and to draw up By-laws and Rules.


By December 1960 the form that the Association would take was fairly well defined and it had been decided that the headquarters should be in Geneva to be near the headquarters of the International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission. On 17th May 1961 the Association officially came into being and all those Companies which attended the original meeting became members. The constituent assembly was held on 17th June 1961.

Just prior to the official registration of Ecma, it was invited to be represented at a Round-Table Conference to be held in Geneva organized by ISOLink to non-Ecma site. Ecma is not responsible for the contents of the site. and IECLink to non-Ecma site. Ecma is not responsible for the contents of the site. to discuss standardization in the general field of computers. This meeting resulted in the formation of TC97 and in the organization of its own Working Groups, and Ecma was asked to become a liaison member.

In 1987, when TC97 became part of ISO/IEC JTC 1 Link to non-Ecma site. Ecma is not responsible for the contents of the site., Ecma became A-liaison member of JTC 1.

To reflect the global activities of the Europe-based Ecma organization the name was changed in 1994 to: Ecma International - European association for standardizing information and communication systems.

Though before 1994, ECMA was known as "European Computer Manufacturers Association", after 1994, when the organization became global, the "trademark" "Ecma" was kept for historical reasons.

In June 2011, Ecma International celebrated its "golden jubilee" in Divonne while organizing the 101st General Assembly. Our association indeed officially came into being at the constituent assembly which was held on 17th June 1961. Please find here the main presentations held during this celebration.

Since 2013 Ecma International regularly grants "Ecma Awards of Appreciation" to standardization experts - generally Editors or Technical Committee Chairpersons. The list of these awarded experts can be found here.

Ecma annually publishes its yearbooks called "Ecma Mementos". For the collection of all past Ecma Mementos please click here.

PS: a presentation on the first years of ECMA is available here. The audio file is available here.

Past Presidents

C. G. Holland-Martin (ICT)

Mr. C. G. Holland-Martin (ICT)
J. Engelfriet (EL)

Prof. Dr. J. Engelfriet
M. R. Pedretti (IBM)

Mr. M. R. Pedretti (IBM)
J. M. M.Pinkerton (ICL)
(Obituary here)
Dr. J. M. M. Pinkerton (ICL)
P. J. Davous (Bull)

Mr. P. Davous (Bull)
K. Scheidhauer (AEG-Tfk)
Dr. K. Scheidhauer (AEG-Tfk)
J. M. M. Pinkerton (ICL)
(Obituary here)
Dr. J. M. M. Pinkerton (ICL)
J. van Eijbergen (Philips)

Mr. J. van Eijbergen (Philips)
W. Heimann (Siemens)

Mr. W. Heimann (Siemens)
M. H. Johnson (Ferranti)

Mr. M. H. Johnson (Ferranti)
J. van Eijbergen (Philips)

Mr. J. van Eijbergen (Philips)
H. Feissel (Cii HB)

Mr. H. Feissel (Cii HB)
J. Scherpenhuizen (Digital)

Mr. J. Scherpenhuizen (Digital)
C. Rossetti (STET)

Mr. C. Rossetti (STET)
J. Dubos (Bull)

Mr. J. Dubos (Bull)
Jan van den Beld (Philips)

Mr. J. van den Beld (Philips)
G. Haberzettl
(Siemens Nixdorf)

Mr. G. Haberzettl (Siemens Nixdorf)
W. Brodbeck (IBM)

Mr. W. Brodbeck (IBM)
D. Gann (HP)

Mr. D. Gann (HP)
P.A. Trudgett (BT)

Dr. P. A. Trudgett (BT)
M. Bermange

Mr. M. Bermange (Xerox)
P. Hofmann
Mr. P. Hofmann (IBM)
Stan Statt (Intel)
Mr. S. Statt (Intel)
Harald Theis (Avaya)
Mr. H. Theis (Avaya)
John Neumann (Toshiba)
Mr. J. Neumann (Toshiba)
Paul Weijenbergh
Dr. Paul Weijenbergh (Philips)
Josée Auber
Ms Josée Auber (HP)
Isabelle Valet-Harper (MS)
Ms Isabelle Valet-Harper (Microsoft)
Kei Yamashita (Hitachi)
Mr. Kei Yamashita (Hitachi)
Jochen Friedrich (IBM)
Dr. J. Friedrich (IBM)
Isabelle Valet-Harper (MS)
Ms Isabelle Valet-Harper (Microsoft)

Past Secretaries General

              Dara Hekimi († 18th of  February 2002)
Mr. Dara Hekimi
              Jan van den Beld
Mr. Jan van den Beld
              Dr István Sebestyén
Dr. Istvan Sebestyen

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