IBM names Virginia Rometty president and CEO

IBM's Sam Palmisano to stay on as chairman.

IBM Tuesday announced that Virginia Rometty will become president and CEO of the company, effective Jan. 1, 2012. She succeeds Sam Palmisano, who will stay on as chairman. Rometty will be the first female CEO of the company. Currently, she serves as IBM's senior vice president and group executive for sales, marketing and strategy. Palmisano has been president and CEO of IBM since 2002. During his tenure, IBM got out of commoditized businesses that it helped build, such as PCs, printers and hard drives, to focus more on services and higher-margin businesses. In a statement, Palmisano said:

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. 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.
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