Virginia ‘Ginni’ Rometty, President and CEO
Profile: Rometty was born in a Chicago suburb in July 1957. The 54-year-old received a BS in computer science/electrical engineering with high honors from Northwestern University. She was appointed CEO of IBM (NYSE:IBM) on Oct. 25, 2011.
The Story: For Rometty, becoming IBM’s first woman CEO in the computer giant’s 100-year history has been an easier task than becoming the first female member of Augusta National, the all-male club that hosts golf’s annual Masters Tournament. Since IBM is a sponsor of the event, the company’s CEOs traditionally have been invited to join the club. Rometty was not.
While the club rethinks whether or not to admit women (club member Warren Buffett says it’s time for a change), Rometty has other priorities to attend to, including expanding the company’s high-value enterprise solutions and executing the company’s 2015 Roadmap — a transformational strategy she helped craft.
IBM is moving away from the hardware business to take advantage of global markets and more profitable businesses, such as software and services. Rometty, a 31-year IBM veteran who started as a systems engineer, most recently was senior vice president/group executive for IBM sales. Her leadership in global markets brought in nearly $100 billion in sales during 2010.
As senior VP of IBM Global Business Services, she built a team of more than 100,000 consulting and services specialists and successfully integrated PriceWaterhouseCoopers into IBM.