IBM has announced that Virginia Rometty, senior vice president for sales, marketing and strategy, will succeed Sam Palmisano as president and CEO of the company in January next year.
Palmisano, who has been IBM’s CEO since 2002, will retain his position as chairman of the board of directors.
Rometty, who joined IBM in 1982 as an engineer, is already responsible for revenue, profit and client satisfaction across the company. She was previously head of the company’s IT services unit and oversaw the integration of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ consulting division, which IBM acquired in 2002.
“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 [emerging] Markets Unit,” Palmisano said in a statement. “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."
"There is no greater privilege in business than to be asked to lead IBM," said Chicago-born Rometty. She paid tribute to Palmisano, saying that as a result of his directrion "IBM’s strategies and business model are correct."
IBM, which this year celebrated its centeniary, recently overtook Microsoft to become the second largest technology company by market capitalisation, after Apple. By revenue, it is second only Hewlett-Packard, meaning that following Rometty’s appointment and that of Meg Whitman as HP CEO last month, the world’s two largest IT companies are led by women.