IBM's CEO hand-off: Rometty to take over for Palmisano

IBM's CEO hand-off: Rometty to take over for Palmisano

Summary: Virginia Rometty will take over for Sam Palmisano effective Jan. 1. Now women run both HP and IBM.

SHARE:
TOPICS: CXO, IBM, IT Employment
11

IBM on Tuesday made its CEO succession plan official: Virginia Rometty will take over for Sam Palmisano effective Jan. 1.

The move has been widely expected and IBM telegraphed its succession plan. At IBM's Think conference in New York, Rometty had a high profile with customers.

Palmisano remains chairman.

When Rometty takes over at IBM there will be two females running two behemoth enterprise technology players. Meanwhile, Xerox, another large enterprise player, is run by Ursula Burns.

IBM's has planned a smooth leadership transition before. IBM CEO Lou Gerstner handed off to Palmisano, who is now stepping aside from Rometty. Rometty knows IBM's key businesses well. She led IBM's global services unit as well as its growth markets.

In June, IBM succession talk perked up. As noted last month, the IBM hand-off appeared to be near.

Big Blue chief Sam Palmisano worked the room and the crowd as he pondered the next 100 years. Palmisano took over from Lou Gerstner in 2002. Palmisano’s likely successor, Virginia Rometty, also had some time on stage. The baton wasn’t officially passed, but rest assured it was back stage to be handed off at some future date.

Palmisano became CEO in 2002 and took over as chairman in 2003. During Palmisano's tenure, IBM ditched the PC and printer units and focused on emerging markets, software, services and analytics. IBM also made a lot of dough---$100 billion in free cash flow.

Related: IBM's Palmisano on innovator's dilemma, avoiding tech's 'bone pile' | HP's biggest challenge vs. IBM, Oracle: Continuity

In a statement, Palmisano said:

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.

Rometty said:

There is no greater privilege in business than to be asked to lead IBM, especially at this moment.

She added that IBM plans to stay its current course with a roadmap through 2015. In other words, IBM won't veer off course with a CEO change. The company will continue to push software, services, analytics and spend heavily on research and development. IBM's most recent quarter indicates that Big Blue is pretty much firing on all cylinders.

That roadmap, unveiled in 2010, goes like this:

IBM also said that it will authorize a $7 billion stock buyback as it declared another dividend, the latest in a line of quarterly payouts dating back to 1916.

Topics: CXO, IBM, IT Employment

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

11 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: IBM's CEO hand-off: Rometty to take over for Palmisano

    So, who is Virginia Rometty? What's her background? That should have been the focus, not Sam working a room.
    zd@...
  • RE: IBM's CEO hand-off: Rometty to take over for Palmisano

    Seems IBM is just another pimp horning in on other businesses.

    Businesses should wake up and take control of their own future.
    rdrockett
  • RE: IBM's CEO hand-off: Rometty to take over for Palmisano

    Who really cares? Isn't gender supposed to be a non issue these days? Can she do the job - that should be the issue.
    inkwell
  • RE: IBM's CEO hand-off: Rometty to take over for Palmisano

    Plenty of men AND women have ruined good companies. Accolates should come when the new CEO makes the company relevant again. I don't think gender is an issue, and I would be just as underwhelmed if a man had stepped up to bat.
    P Newton
  • RE: IBM's CEO hand-off: Rometty to take over for Palmisano

    "Now women run both HP and IBM."

    And? What a bizarre headline.
    bradavon
  • Boy, has IBM really changed

    Maybe they should rename themselves: International Business Software. It'd be more accurate.
    Vulpinemac
    • RE: IBM's CEO hand-off: Rometty to take over for Palmisano

      @vulpine@...

      They have been one of the largest software companies in the world since the invention of software. It used to be wrapped into the purchase price of the hardware, now it is sold separately.
      AdamS12
  • Women in tech

    I believe virginia will be great CEO as when i worked for IBM the GBS unit was awesome
    http://thetechnologycafe.com/ibm-gets-a-new-ceo-virginia-rometty-the-era-of-sam-palmisano-ends/
    samzbest@...
  • RE: IBM's CEO hand-off: Rometty to take over for Palmisano

    [ SOS ] Complaint about Human Rights Violations by IBM China on Centennial

    Please Google:

    IBM detained mother of ex-employee on the day of centennial
    or
    How Much IBM Can Get Away with is the Responsibility of the Media
    or
    Tragedy of Labor Rights Repression in IBM China
    larkforsure
  • RE: IBM's CEO hand-off: Rometty to take over for Palmisano

    Perhaps she will display a tad of compassion for her workers (mostly contractors now) who have seen only decreases in pay for the last ten years. Or she will just take it to the natural extreme: fire everybody in the United States to "go global".
    Cranky1
  • RE: IBM's CEO hand-off: Rometty to take over for Palmisano

    http://proxy4biz.com/
    weibb