IBM CEO Ginni Rometty has opened up about her involvement with the Trump administration, a move that has been unpopular with some employees who see it as a deviation from the company’s values of diversity and inclusion.
In a memo sent to IBM employees obtained by TechCrunch, Rometty told employees that Trump is the rule, not the exception, and that the company has been meeting with American leaders since its founding.
“IBM leaders have been engaging directly with every U.S. president since Woodrow Wilson, and this was my ninth such meeting since becoming CEO,” she wrote. “Like my predecessors, I’m invited to these discussions because of the trusted perspective IBM offers in solving problems.”
In a meeting with Trump, Rometty said a wide range of issues were discussed including cybersecurity, jobs, including more women in the workforce, and the recent executive order affecting immigration and travel.
“We would not be the company we are today without the benefit of immigration and the flow of talent across all our markets. From this great diversity, we draw strength as a company,” she wrote. “…I discussed with the President and the Secretary of Homeland Security ways that advanced technology could address national security imperatives while also permitting lawful immigration and travel. I explained that this is not an either/or choice. Our points were heard, and we will continue to engage to find solutions that align with our values.”
“Some have suggested that we should not engage with the U.S. administration. I disagree. Our experience has taught us that engagement – reaching out, listening and having authentic dialogue – is the best path to good outcomes. IBM does not espouse a partisan or political point of view. Alone among our major competitors, we do not make political contributions, and we do not endorse candidates for office. We never have.”
After Rometty penned an open letter to President Trump more than 2,000 IBM employees have signed a petition urging IBM to expand its diversity recruitment programs and allow employees to assert their right to “refuse participation in any U.S. government contracts that violate constitutionally protected liberties."
To read the letter in its entirety, visit TechCrunch.