Virginia "Ginni" Rometty will take over as IBM's CEO and president when Sam Palmisano retires at the end of the year.
Rometty, IBM's senior vice president and global sales leader, is slated to
become the company's next CEO and president, succeeding longtime leader Samuel
Palmisano, who is retiring at the end of the year.
the new CEO, Rometty not only takes over one of the world's largest and most
important tech companies, but she is now effectively the most important female
executive in the United States.
will join Big Blue's board of directors, but Palmisano will remain the board's
chairman, according to an Oct. 25 announcement detailing the change in
leadership from IBM.
the group executive for sales, marketing and strategy, Rometty has been
responsible for revenue, profit and client satisfaction globally. She has been
responsible for IBM's worldwide results, which exceeded $99 billion in 2010.
She has also been in charge of strategy, marketing and communications at IBM.
will be the first woman to run IBM. With
newly appointed to the top seat at Hewlett-Packard, women now
run the two biggest IT companies in the world by revenue.
heading up the sales division, Rometty ran IBM Global Business Services as
senior vice president and oversaw the integration of PricewaterhouseCoopers
Consulting in 2002. The $3.5 billion acquisition was the largest in
professional services history and resulted in a global team of more than
100,000 business consultants and services experts.
has compiled "an impressive list of accomplishments, but what it
essentially translates to is that Rometty has a tangible understanding of IBM's
entire business and its corporate culture. That will be hugely helpful in her
work as CEO, and could well be extremely beneficial to both the company and its
shareholders," Charles King, principal analyst with research firm Pund-IT,
wrote in an email to eWEEK
is entering the CEO's office "at a time when many of IBM's biggest
competitors (HP and Oracle, particularly) are either in some disarray or
transitioning to new business models. That should provide some breathing room
in the short term but you can't expect them to be fumble-footed for long,"
observers had long speculated whom Palmisano would select as his successor as
rumors swirled about his impending retirement. Palmisano turned 60 this year,
the typical age at which IBM CEOs retire. Rometty was one of the
three top candidates
being considered to take over the top spot at IBM, and
the only female on the list.
was considered a front-runner and has been recently showcased at major IBM
events, such as the Centennial Celebration in June and the
earlier this month. At the event, she introduced the company's
Corporate Service Corps and how it applied to the company's leadership agenda.
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 statement,
adding that she brings "a unique combination of vision, client focus,
unrelenting drive, and passion for IBMers and the company's future" to the
experience leading IBM's consulting and services division makes her a natural
fit in leading IBM, especially since services has become such a big part of the
company's business and a driver for growth. IDC ranked IBM in the
"leader" category in an analysis of services companies in August.
became the CEO in 2002 and chairman of the board in 2003. Under his watch, IBM
exited increasingly commoditized hardware businesses, including PCs and
printers, and transformed the company into a global services-oriented
organization, with more emphasis on providing consulting advice to some of the
world's largest enterprises. Big Blue is also now more invested in software and
high-value technologies such as cloud computing and "Big Data"
taught us, above all, that we must never stop reinventing IBM," Rometty
said in a statement. She has been with IBM since 1981, when she joined Big Blue
as a systems engineer in the Detroit branch.
reported earlier this month that its third-quarter revenue
rose 8 percent to
$26.2 billion, largely based on the company's performance in growth markets,
software and services. Software saw revenue growth of 13 percent, and services
revenue grew 9 percent, IBM said. Growth markets revenue and business analytics
revenue both were up 19 percent, and cloud revenue year-to-date was double IBM's
cloud revenue for all of 2010.
Burt, eWEEK Managing Editor News/East Coast, contributed to this article.