International Business Machines (IBM) was founded in 1911 (Until 1924 it was named Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company) in Armonk, NY. Since its very inception, IBM has been a monolith. The creation of IBM was the brainchild of Charles Flint, a financier in New York City who also created US Rubber. IBM posted revenue of nearly $80 billion in 2018 with a current stock price of $143.73. IBM has been a leader (and sometimes eager follower) of the tech industry for decades. Despite IBM’s forward thinking technology, IBM has been behind the times in some cultural trends.
In 1998 during the tech bubble, Meg Whitman became CEO of EBay. She took the company from $4 million in revenue to nearly $8 billion before departing for the CEO position at Hewlett Packard. In 2004, Safra Catz took the reins heading Oracle. In 2009, Ursula Burns was installed as CEO at Xerox. It was not until 2011; Ginni Rometty was appointed to the role of CEO at IBM (Becoming CEO on Jan 1,2012), the ninth CEO in IBMs history.
This week, Ginni Rometty stepped down as CEO. Her mission was to make IBM progressive again. From 2012 to 2015, she acquired nearly30 companies to the tune of $8.5 billion. In 2014, Ginni spearheaded a partnership with Apple. In the same year, IBM collaborated with twitter and SAP, a cloud super power for enterprise clients. In 2015, a deal with Box was cemented. In June of 2017, Ginni was awarded the KPMG Inspire Greatness Award.
Some people love Ginni Rometty others hate her. She led IBM through a challenging time in IBMs history. She pushed the frontier on new boundaries and chose to work with other players in a way previous CEOs did not. Was this for the long-term betterment of IBM? Time will tell. That being said, there is no denying she leaves the CEO position in a better position than she received it. Arvind Krishna will be the next CEO of IBM starting in April of this year.