IBM has announced that from January 1, 2012 Virginia “Ginni” Rometty (photo courtesy of International Business Machines Corporation. Unauthorized use is not permitted) will become CEO of the company taking over from Sam Palmisano.
This is the last succession occurred within a few months in large companies in the field of computer science but it’s handled quite differently. In the case of Yahoo! and Hewlett-Packard the CEO was changed because of unsatisfactory results, in the case of Apple because Steve Jobs was no longer able to carry on his work, so much so that he died not long after. Instead in the case of IBM it’s company policy that at his sixtieth birthday the CEO leaves the office.
Sam Palmisano was elected CEO of IBM in 2002 and chairman of the board of directors, a position he will retain, in 2003. Palmisano has done his job successfully, selling the PC division to focus the company’s efforts on providing business solutions. In recent years, IBM had the highest revenue but also invested several billion dollars in research and development.
Ginni Romettty has a degree in electrical engineering and computer science and started working at IBM in 1981. As an executive, in 2002 she was the architect of the acquisition of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting, a business consulting company acquired by IBM for $3.5 billion. Rometty handled the coordination of the acquired company’s consultants with IBM’s technology work to be able to propose potential customers an offer tailored to their specific needs.
Over the past two years Ginni Rometty has contributed to IBM’s expansion in growing markets such as China, India, Brazil and other nations which now bring nearly a quarter of the company revenue.
With Ginni Rometty as CEO there should be no abrupt changes in the company’s strategies, also because she helped creating them.
The appointment of Ginni Rometty makes more sensation because she’s the first woman to be appointed as CEO of IBM. This certainly helps to make the titles of the articles that talk about it but luckily it’s no longer a momentous event and her work will be judged for the way she’ll carry it out and not for her gender.