Romettys Resume

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2011-10-25 Print this article Print


As global sales leader for IBM, Rometty, 54, has been accountable for revenue, profit and client satisfaction in the 170 global markets in which IBM does business. She is responsible for IBM's worldwide results, which exceeded $99 billion in 2010. She also is responsible for 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.

Rometty joined IBM in 1981 as a systems engineer. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree with high honors in computer science and electrical engineering from Northwestern University.
Judith Hurwitz, an industry analyst who has watched IBM for a long time, said: "Ginny is a sophisticated executive who has managed strategy, sales, and consulting services for IBM for a number of years. She is the best choice in terms of her ability to continue Palmisano's directions with software, solutions, strategy. I think that she is a superb operational executive as well. The continuity is important. IBM is on the right path for the future, and Ginny will continue this direction."

Comparing Apple's situation with Steve Jobs and IBM's, King said:

"Apple was incredibly dependent on Steve Jobs, who made himself indispensable, and his executive office was made up of a team of people who together covered the critical skill set. He actually worked against training a replacement because he was afraid of being prematurely replaced, so Apple is now left with a huge hole where Jobs used to be. IBM, on the other hand, begins grooming executives early for the CEO slot and actively assuring they are trained to take it. Those that are good at breadth, which isn't often common, and are sequentially successful and demonstrate an ability to build consensus rise to the top. It is a rigorous process, and it includes detailed training from recognized leaders in various disciplines in a variety of industries for breadth. The combination of experience and very unique training builds an executive with the capabilities and tested skills to run a company like IBM. While this doesn't assure success, the CEO job is unique, it makes it very likely and over a century IBM has generally proven the process works."

Palmisano became IBM's CEO in 2002 and chairman of the board in 2003. During his tenure, IBM exited commoditizing businesses, including PCs, printers and hard disk drives, and greatly increased investments in high-value businesses and technologies. He has overseen the significant expansion of IBM in the emerging markets of China, India, Brazil, Russia and dozens of other developing countries, transforming IBM from a multinational into a globally integrated enterprise. In 2008, he launched IBM's Smarter Planet strategy, which describes the company's view of the next era of information technology and its impact on business and society.

View Palmisano's top 15 moves here.

Since Palmisano became CEO, IBM has set records in pretax earnings, earnings per share and free cash flow. During Palmisano's tenure, IBM increased EPS by almost five times, generated over $100 billion in free cash flow, and invested more than $50 billion in research and development-creating over $100 billion of shareholder value since 2002 through an increase in market capitalization and dividends paid.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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