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Remembering My Friend and Mentor: 1984-1985 ISACA Board Chair John Lainhart

Terry Grafenstine, CISA, CGEIT, CRISC, ISACA Board Director and 2017-2018 ISACA Board Chair
| Posted at 4:13 PM by ISACA News | Category: ISACA | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (13)

Terry GrafenstineIn my presentations on leadership, I always cite one example of an incredible leader who has touched my life and hundreds—probably thousands—of others: John Lainhart. John, an ISACA volunteer for nearly 40 years, introduced me to ISACA and the value of professional associations. He was my champion and my friend.

Today, I am heartbroken to share that the ISACA family has lost a great leader and a truly great person. John passed away early this morning.

John Lainhart
John Lainhart

Over his four decades with ISACA, John was involved in so many aspects of the association. He served as board chair from 1984-1985 and expanded ISACA’s geographic reach. He was known as the “father of CISA” and was instrumental in the development of COBIT. In fact, he was the lead developer of COBIT 2019, which will be released later this year. 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.

ISACA will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2019, and John is a part of so many of those five decades of memories, milestones and successes.

He is also a part of so many of my memories. I succeeded John in his role as inspector general of the US House of Representatives, where he implemented COBIT among many other accomplishments. During his time as IG, he mentored me and helped me become the professional I am today. Though I only worked with him for one year, he supported me on my career path for more than two decades.

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

Throughout his career he received countless awards recognizing his outstanding work. While with 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.

John co-authored two books on information systems auditing—System Development Auditor and Computerized Information Systems (CIS) Audit Manual and a National Institute of Standards and Technology special publication on systems development life cycle auditing.

But as dedicated as he was to his work, John’s first priority was his incredible family—his wife Alice, his son and two daughters, and his grandchildren. The entire ISACA family wishes the Lainhart family peace and comfort as they grieve the passing of their devoted husband, caring father, and loving grandfather.

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.

It is important to me that I carry on his legacy of leadership and mentorship—that I reach back and help others who were once where I was, when John reached back and helped me.

John recognized that one of the best parts of being a leader is the ability to help others follow in your footsteps. Today, I encourage you to follow in his. Be a John Lainhart, and find people to champion. You won’t believe what a difference you’ll make in their lives.


Thank you John

I have had the honour and pleasure to work with John during almost 20 years on various COBIT related developments. John was the relentless driving force behind many of the work we've accomplished. John saw the big picture but also the missing comma's . John accomplished things by giving trust to the people he worked with and subtly guiding them, and behind the scenes he supported you and fought hard for whatever it was you needed to get things done. Our last conf call was only a few days ago, and realising that there will be no more talks with John is still unreal. John, we will finish COBIT 2019 as you would have wanted it and I dedicate it to you. My most sincere condolences to the family of whom he always spoke very warm.
Dirk789 at 9/25/2018 6:31 PM

A great loss

This is such a loss.  I first met John in the early 80s in Washington, when I was an Assistant Auditor General with the Australian National Audit Office,.  He was with the Department of Transport and my EDPAA contacts suggested that I would get better idea of the direction in EDP audit, than I would from the GAO.  That proved to be the case.  He was a gracious host, knowledgeable and committed.   He was chapter president of Washington at that time, and this partly inspired me when I set up the Canberra Chapter.   John has had a long term commitment to ISACA and has made significant contributions, always thoughtful, always a gracious gentleman and always a friend.   I am honored to have received the John Lainhart award, which he said to me he had insisted awarding to me personally.   I will miss him. 
Maxwell101 at 9/25/2018 6:40 PM

One to emulate

John was a gentle giant in the ISACA family. He was a thought leader in his profession and he was recognized around the world for his accomplishments.  His professional successes were fantastic but the way John worked with, managed, and interacted with people were his most admirable qualities.  He treated everyone with respect and always took time to listen, no matter where you fit in the organization.  I loved the way he "talked up" how good his staff was and how optimistic he was about taking on new opportunities.  I will always try to emulate John's management style.  RIP John Lainhart.  You will be sorely missed by the countless colleagues and loved ones that are proud to have known you and worked with you over the years.  
Kyle084 at 9/25/2018 10:19 PM

Lifelong friend RIP

I have lost a lifelong friend and one of the most respected ISACA Past International Presidents and Board Chairs in our near 50-year history. I had the honor of knowing John and working with him from my earliest days as an ISACA member and volunteer. I followed him as Intl. President and we had many travels together. He was a gentleman, a great family man and contributed greatly to our professions and the US Government. He will be missed. My sincere sympathies to Alice and the family – you are in our prayers.
Michael P Cangemi CPA at 9/26/2018 8:18 AM

A mentor and guide for many years

It was John. John brought me into the ISACA family while we were both at IBM to co-manage IBM's sponsorship of ISACA. If it weren't for John, I wouldn't have done so much in ISACA over many years. What value I've brought to ISACA friends flows from John. Over the years, I've met so many others with same story "it's all about John." His influence stretches so far and wide because of how he cared about the ISACA family as people that find fit for themselves and form into a larger organization. His sudden death also reminds us of our opportunities in the world. In my recent call with him, he was full of hope and enthusiasm for the upcoming release of the latest version of COBIT. Through his eyes, we can all see opportunities in life. Thoughts and prayers for Alice his wife, his daughter with graphic design talents he prized, and all his family, near and far.
Brian Barnier at 9/26/2018 9:26 AM

Respect and honor to Mr John Lainhart

John inspired - leading by example - dedicated service to our industry and people.  John's influence was deep and wide.  Mr. ISACA and Mr. COBIT.   Thank you John.  
JohnEJasinski at 9/26/2018 10:53 AM

Always a gentleman!

I first met John when I "volunteered" to lead the development of ISACA's Val IT Framework, back in 2005 (I think it was). I last met him this year in February in Orlando when he had asked me to present at a "The Future of IT Governance Product Meeting". (Which, ironically, was attended by Robert Stroud - also, sadly, recently deceased.)
John was indeed Mr COBIT. He was always passionate, and determined. As others have said, he always treated everyone with respect and always took time to listen, whether he agreed with you or not. He was determined in his support, and polite when he did not agree with you.
He is a great loss to IACA, and I regret not having the opportunity to work with him again.
John Thorp at 9/26/2018 2:49 PM

A Loss of a True Leader, Mentor, and a Friend

I first met John in 1997 when he was the inspector general of the US House of Representatives. I joined ISACA that year and became active with the Greater Washington DC Chapter (GWDC). I got to know John through my volunteer work for ISACA and then later, when he retired and joined PwC Consulting and then IBM. I discovered, first hand, that John was an exemplary leader. He was a true influencer in IT audit and governance. He set the foundation, and later, helped position ISACA as a lead professional association worldwide. John was always available for advising, connecting to others, sharing his knowledge, network, and expertise.
John will be missed by the ISACA family, but the seeds that he planted decades ago will continue to grow and thrive, and will be the foundation for newcomers to this profession.
My most sincere condolences to John’s family and the entire ISACA family.
Yehuda Schmidt CPA, CISA, CGEIT, CRISC
YehudaSchmidt at 9/26/2018 3:13 PM

A great loss and a great legacy

John´s signature is in my CISA certification as is in my heart. I am sad for his departure. Always supportive, ethusiastic and warm;  a great leader for ISACA. John pulled hard to build up the certification program as well as consolidating a truly international professional organization. I will always remember with fondness, pride and joy our trip to Japan and his constant support and counseling during my presidency. There are so many memories in which John is present. A great loss, and a great legacy. Thank you John, we will always remember you. My sympathies to all his family and my assurance that John Lainhart´s memory will perdure.
Jorge768 at 9/26/2018 4:51 PM

Farewell John

I am very sadden by the sudden loss of John just as the new COBIT version is being readied for publication.  I have worked with John on a  ISACA committees over the past many years and met him at many conferences and he was always such a gentleman.  We met recently and his continued enthusiasm for ISACA and COBIT was an uplifting inspiration to me.   Condolences to his family at this difficult time.  
TonyNobleNY at 9/27/2018 8:42 AM

John will be missed but will live on through his great contribution especially to ISACA and to COBIT users.

I am deeply grieved to know the news of passing away of John. We had emailed exchanges last month on ideas and suggestions on COBIT 2019. John was excited as ever to bring the latest version of COBIT to ISACA stakeholders.
In my association with him through various COBIT conferences and committees since more than two decades, I had found to be John to be very committed and always sharing his immense wealth of knowledge. He had unique blend of looking at macro vision but never losing sight of the details. I used to be amazed by his ability to keep learning and sharing the learning. He was Mr. COBIT for us as his insightful inputs and guidance provided practical perspective to key issues when there were differing views.
John was a true leader who lived by contributing to the world with his immense knowledge and expertise. John will be missed but will continue to live through his contribution and use of his pioneering thoughts ingrained in COBIT.
My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family. John, Rest in Peace. You have indeed played a great role as long you were in this world. Your memories will continue to live in our hearts!
Rafeq at 9/27/2018 12:18 PM

An ISACA Great who will be much missed

From the first time I met him in Washington in 1994, when we were both on ISACA’s Standards Board, John was impressive.  Hugely knowledgeable, vastly experienced, and always able to explain the complex with a simple example.  More than that, he was generous in other ways, including providing office space, tours of the Capitol, advice on Washington tourist attractions, and even help with buying the latest gizmos that hadn’t reached UK.  His capacity to help, with humour and grace, was endless.  John installed me as International President of ISACA for my second term, which was a great honour for me.  I will miss him greatly, and always remember him with great affection.  Heartfelt condolences to Alice and family.
Lynn Lawton at 10/1/2018 8:16 AM

A Great Leader, Friend, and Role Model

John Lainhart is one of the finest men I have ever met and had the privilege of working with professionally and personally.
Professionally he was the "world class" international  thought leader and visionary for IT Governance and COBIT, an expert in audit, influential at the most senior levels of business and government, and an outstanding leader that led by example. One of the common principles of governance is “doing the right things and doing them right”: John Lainhart personified those principles.
Personally he was my boss at IBM for several years, but also my mentor, my supporter, a shipmate, and most importantly a great friend for many more years. He demonstrated intelligence, dignity, honor, respect, and humility in all of his activities. He loved his family and really enjoyed his time with them. I learned much from John and truly appreciate and value every minute I had working with him on so many various activities.
We'll all miss John. May God accept John in his arms and watch over his family.
James751 at 10/13/2018 3:24 PM
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