IBM’s Next CEO: Who Is Virginia M. Rometty?
Virginia M. Rometty will succeed Sam Palmisano as IBM’s president and CEO on January 1, 2012, IBM announced today. “Ginni” Rometty, a sales and marketing executive, is a longtime IBM veteran who has deep software and services expertise — two areas where IBM has thrived in recent years. Still, IBM suffered a slight revenue shortfall in its most recent quarter. It makes The VAR Guy wonder: Is Rometty taking over IBM just as the company is showing signs of slowing growth? And if so, can Rometty jumpstart growth? Hmmm…
First, a reality check: IBM certainly has been healthier than primary rival HP in recent quarters. While Hewlett-Packard has struggled to navigate another CEO change and debate about the company’s PC business, IBM has continued to march along with a mix of enterprise hardware, software and services. And IBM’s cloud revenues have more than doubled so far in 2011 vs. 2010, Talkin’ Cloud recently reported.
Rometty seems like an ideal successor to Palmisano, who will remain chairman when the CEO shift occurs in January 2012. Among her career highlights, according to The New York Times, Rometty:
- Played a key role in IBM’s business intelligence and data mining businesses.
- Led the growth and development of I.B.M.’s huge services business for more than a decade.
- Championed the purchase of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting, for $3.5 billion in 2002.
“Since Mr. Palmisano became CEO, IBM has set records in pre-tax earnings, earnings per share, and free cash flow. During Mr. Palmisano’s tenure, IBM increased EPS by almost five times, generated over $100 billion in free cash flow, and invested more than $50 billion in research and development—creating over $100 billion of shareholder value since 2002 through an increase in market capitalization and dividends paid.”
Impressive numbers — and tough figures for Rometty (or anybody else in the CEO seat) to live up to.