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September 27, 2012

Rometty Named Chairman at IBM in Widely Expected Move

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

IBM’s (News - Alert) Virginia M. Rometty was named chairman of the company’s board starting on Oct. 1. She will succeed Samuel J. Palmisano, who will become a senior adviser until he retires on Dec. 1.

Rometty will be known as the company’s chairman, president and chief executive officer.

Rometty followed Palmisano as IBM's ninth CEO in January. Previously, she worked as an executive in the company’s services, sales, strategy and marketing businesses. For example, she led the integration of PricewaterhouseCoopers (News - Alert) Consulting after IBM acquired the company. IBM purchased the consulting firm for $3.5 billion in 2002, The Wall Street Journal said.

In recent years, IBM moved away from PCs and focused on “higher-margin, complex businesses,” according to The Journal. It now faces, like most technology companies, the current economic climate in places like Europe which has led to lower spending on technology.

Rometty is seen as a strong leader for the company in these times.

"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 statement when she was named CEO.

"But she is more than a superb operational executive. 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. 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. I know the board agrees with me that Ginni is the ideal CEO to lead IBM into its second century."

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Edited by Brooke Neuman

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