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Looking Back to Get Ahead

IBM senior executive to discuss lessons from past century that will fuel future success

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March 1, 2011 | by Megan Fellman
Ginni Rometty
Ginni Rometty

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Ginni Rometty, senior vice president and group executive for sales, marketing and strategy for IBM, will discuss key lessons learned by industrial leaders during the last century when she delivers the IBM Centennial Lecture Friday, March 11, at Northwestern University.

The free talk, “Lessons From a Century,” will take place at 10 a.m. in the McCormick Auditorium of the James L. Allen Center, 2169 Campus Drive. Register for the free lecture online.

The event is co-sponsored by the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Kellogg School of Management.



Rometty will highlight the importance of driving high-value growth and staying ahead of industry commoditization; the implications of this for corporate culture and leadership; and the value of serving a purpose beyond the immediate corporate bottom line.

These lessons provide insight into critical success factors for the next century, says Rometty, who is a member of the Northwestern Board of Trustees. She will highlight how the lessons inform everything from IBM’s Smarter Planet strategy to the development of the IBM supercomputer “Watson,” which recently competed on the game show Jeopardy and beat the show’s top human champions.



At IBM, Rometty is accountable for revenue, profit and client satisfaction in the 170 global markets in which IBM does business. In this role, she is responsible for IBM’s worldwide results, which exceeded $99 billion in 2010. She also is responsible for leading IBM’s global strategy, marketing and communications functions.



Prior to her current position, Rometty was the senior vice president of IBM Global Business Services. During her tenure, Rometty led the successful integration of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting -- the largest acquisition in professional services history -- and built a global team of more than 100,000 business consultants and service experts.



Rometty reports to the IBM chairman. She has been named to Fortune magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” for six consecutive years, including most recently in 2010.