Hire Wire Oct 25 2011

IBM Appoints Its First Female CEO

By joseph walker

IBM has appointed senior vice president Virginia M. Rometty as its next chief executive officer, the company announced this afternoon. Rometty will replace the current CEO, Samuel J. Palmisano, on January 1, 2012, who will stay on as chairman of the company. Palmisano will remain chairman of the company's board of directors, a position he now holds, after his resignation as CEO at the end of the year.

Rometty, 53, is currently senior vice president and group executive of sales, marketing and strategy at IBM. She is a 30-year veteran of the company, having joined it in 1981 as a systems engineer. Previously, she served as senior vice president for global business services at IBM, and led the integration of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting after it was acquired by IBM in 2002, the company said in a press release. Rometty's appointment as CEO makes her one of few women to hold the top spot of a large technology company.

"She brings to the role of CEO a unique combination of vision, client focus, unrelenting drive, and passion for IBMers and the company's future," Palmisano said of Rometty in a press release.

Another IBM executive, Bridget van Kralingen, spoke to FINS about having Rometty as a mentor.

The appointment of Rometty did not come as a surprise. She was considered the favorite to replace Palmisano, 60, who has served as CEO of the company since 2002.

Other contenders for the top job included Michael E. Daniels, senior vice president of global services, and Rodney C. Adkins, senior vice president of hardware, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year. Adkins recently spoke with FINS about his rise from a poor neighborhood in Miami to becoming one of the most powerful African-American technology executives in the country.

Write to Joseph Walker at Joseph,Walker@dowjones.com

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