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Virginia Rometty Chosen for Top Job at IBM

Northwestern board of trustees member named IBM president, chief executive officer

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October 26, 2011 | by Pat Vaughan Tremmel
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Virginia Rometty

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Virginia M. Rometty, a Northwestern University Board of Trustees member and alumna of the University, has been named president and chief executive officer of IBM , effective Jan. 1, 2012.

Rometty, a leader in the technology industry who currently is IBM senior vice president and group executive for sales, marketing and strategy, will succeed Samuel J. Palmisano, who will remain chairman of the board.

"We're excited to learn of Ginni Rometty being elected president and chief executive officer of IBM. She is a valued member of our board of trustees and a distinguished alumna of Northwestern," said Northwestern President Morton Schapiro. "She is an outstanding ambassador for Northwestern, and we wish her well in this important new post."

A 1979 Northwestern graduate in computer science and electrical engineering, Rometty joined IBM in 1981 as a systems engineer. Her selection for the top job at IBM will make her one of the most prominent women executives in corporate America.

“As a school, we are only as good as the people that we produce,” said Julio M. Ottino, dean of Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. “Our value resides in our alumni -- and Ginni's new position reflects incredibly well on Northwestern, McCormick and all of us.”

Rometty was the speaker at McCormick's undergraduate convocation in June 2010. She also visited Northwestern in March 2011 to give the IBM Centennial lecture to a packed room of students, faculty and alumni. It was one of only six lectures she gave at universities around the world. (Watch her IBM Centennial lecture.)

Read more on the McCormick website (including videos of her talk at McCormick). 

See IBM press release.