Press Release


 ISACA Remembers Influential Leader and Past Board Chair John W. Lainhart 

Schaumburg, IL USA (26 September 2018)—John W. Lainhart, a former ISACA board chair who provided more than four decades of impactful leadership to the organization, passed away Tuesday, 25 September. He was 71.

John W. Lainhart

John was a central figure in the development of two of ISACA’s most widely embraced industry contributions – the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) certification and the COBIT framework for the governance and management of enterprise IT. He was known as “the father of CISA,” a credential with more than 140,000 professionals certified globally since its inception in 1978.

“John Lainhart was a passionate leader whose contributions to and impact upon the IT audit, cybersecurity, governance, and risk professions are legendary at ISACA,” said Rob Clyde, ISACA Board Chair. “He is considered a mentor by many and continued to volunteer for ISACA even until the last day of his life. We will sorely miss him.”

John served as ISACA’s board chair from 1984-1985 and worked to expand ISACA’s geographic reach throughout the globe. His passion for the organization extended well beyond his term as board chair; in fact, he was the lead developer of COBIT 2019, which will be released later this year. A resident of the Washington, D.C. area, John held ISACA’s CISA, CISM, CGEIT and CRISC certifications, and was a member of numerous ISACA committees and working groups—most recently, the COBIT Working Group and the Future of IT Governance Steering Committee.

In addition to working for the US House of Representatives, John held positions at the US Department of Transportation (DOT), the US General Accounting Office (GAO) and IBM Global Business Services’ (GBS) Public Sector, as well as his most recent role as a director in Grant Thornton Public Sector’s Cyber Risk Advisory practice.

John earned countless awards recognizing his outstanding work. While with the GAO, he received several awards for innovative computer auditing techniques. While with DOT, he was the 1988 Paul R. Boucher Presidential Award winner—the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency's highest award; in 1991, he received the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive; and in 1993, he was awarded DOT's Exceptional Service Award. In 1988, he was awarded ISACA’s highest award, the Eugene M. Frank Award for Meritorious Service, and in 1991 he became the 14th recipient of the ISACA New York Metropolitan Chapter's Joseph J. Wasserman Award. He also received ISACA’s 1995 and 1996 President’s Awards and, in November 1996, became the first recipient of ISACA’s John Lainhart Common Body of Knowledge Award.

His willingness to share his knowledge and experience with others was a hallmark of his service to ISACA.

“John leaves behind a remarkable personal and professional legacy—and I am grateful to have been so profoundly impacted by his knowledge, generosity and kind spirit,” said Theresa Grafenstine, ISACA Board Director and 2017-2018 ISACA Board Chair. “John recognized that one of the best parts of being a leader is the ability to help others follow in your footsteps. I encourage everyone to be a John Lainhart and find people to champion.”

John is survived by his wife, Alice, his son and two daughters, and his grandchildren.


Nearing its 50th year, ISACA ( is a global association helping individuals and enterprises achieve the positive potential of technology. Today’s world is powered by technology, and ISACA equips professionals with the knowledge, credentials, education and community to advance their careers and transform their organizations. ISACA leverages the expertise of its 450,000 engaged professionals in information and cybersecurity, governance, assurance, risk and innovation, as well as its enterprise performance subsidiary, CMMI Institute, to help advance innovation through technology. ISACA has a presence in more than 188 countries, including 217 chapters worldwide and offices in both the United States and China.


Press Contacts:

Kristen Kessinger, +1.847.660.5512,