Hot on the heels of HP's decision to hire a newly-appointed CEO comes an announcement from IBM that it too is welcoming a new CEO. The company this week announced that senior vice president and group executive for sales, marketing and strategy, Virgina Rometty, is to be the company's new chief executive officer and president. Rometty will step into the shoes of current IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer, Samuel Palmisano.
Palmisano has been CEO since 2002 and during his time at the helm, IBM's EPS has increased by almost five times, the company has generated over $100 billion in free cash flow, and invested more than $50 billion in research and development. Speaking in a statement released late yesterday afternoon, Palmisano hailed Rometty as a 'superb operational executive.'
"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 Markets Unit," he said. "But she is more than a superb operational executive. With every leadership role, she has strengthened our ability to integrate IBM’s capabilities for our clients. She has spurred us to keep pace with the needs and aspirations of our clients by deepening our expertise and industry knowledge.
"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. I know the board agrees with me that Ginni is the ideal CEO to lead IBM into its second century."
The handing over of the reigns will be a slow process, with Rometty expected to take over on January 1, 2012. However, when that does happen, Palmisano will remain chairman of the board at IBM.