ARMONK, N.Y. – Armonk-based IBM made corporate history today when it announced White Plains resident Virginia M. Rometty will become its next president CEO. Rometty will be the first female CEO in the company’s 100-year history.
Rometty, 54, has been with IBM for 30 years and is currently IBM senior vice president and group executive for sales, marketing and strategy. She succeeds Samuel J. Palmisano, who will remain chairman of the board.
“Ginni Rometty has successfully led several of IBM’s most important businesses over the past decade – from the formation of IBM Global Business Services to the build-out of our Growth Markets Unit,” Palmisano said in a press release. “… With every leadership role, she has strengthened our ability to integrate IBM’s capabilities for our clients. She has spurred us to keep pace with the needs and aspirations of our clients by deepening our expertise and industry knowledge. Ginni’s long-term strategic thinking and client focus are seen in our growth initiatives, from cloud computing and analytics to the commercialization of Watson. … I know the board agrees with me that Ginni is the ideal CEO to lead IBM into its second century.”
In her current role, Rometty is accountable for revenue, profit, and client satisfaction for IBM worldwide, as well as leading IBM’s global strategy, marketing and communications functions. Previously, Rometty was senior vice president of IBM Global Business Services. In that role, she led the successful integration of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting -- the largest acquisition in professional services history, building a global team of more than 100,000 business consultants and services experts. She has also served as general manager of IBM Global Services, Americas, and of IBM's Global Insurance and Financial Services Sector.
“There is no greater privilege in business than to be asked to lead IBM, especially at this moment,” Rometty said in a press release. “Sam had the courage to transform the company based on his belief that computing technology, our industry, even world economies would shift in historic ways. All of that has come to pass. … Sam taught us, above all, that we must never stop reinventing IBM.”
IT World’s Chris Nerney commented that, “This is what a leadership transition should look like. This is how it should be done. While much will be made about a woman being placed in charge of a tech company as large as Big Blue, the real story behind Virginia Rometty's ascension to the top spot is that IBM is that of a well-run organization that effectively plans ahead and rewards talent and effectiveness above all."
Rometty, named to Fortune magazine's “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” for six consecutive years, including most recently in 2010, joined IBM in 1981 as a systems engineer. She serves on the Council on Foreign Relations; the Board of Trustees of Northwestern University; the Board of Overseers of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; the Board of Directors of APQC, a not-for-profit business research organization serving global companies; and on the Columbia Business School's Deming Cup committee, which recognizes individuals for operational excellence.
She serves on the Council on Foreign Relations; the Board of Trustees of Northwestern University; the Board of Overseers of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; the Board of Directors of APQC, a not-for-profit business research organization serving global companies; and on the Columbia Business School's Deming Cup committee, which recognizes individuals for operational excellence.
She holds a Bachelor of Science degree with high honors in computer science and electrical engineering from Northwestern University.
At 1:53 p.m. Wednesday, IBM stock was down .04 percent at 180.49, down from the day’s high of 182.28.