The story of International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE: IBM) is summed up well by a phrase that appears on its website: "A constant state of innovation." Over more than 100 years since its founding in 1910, this giant of the technology sector has managed to successfully transform itself time and again in response to changing technology and marketplace conditions. The company made a major shift away from PC manufacturing to a focus on software solutions and, in 2017, is in the middle of yet another technological revolution, moving further into providing cloud computing and data analytics. That kind of corporate adaptability is properly credited to sharp management.
Here are some of the key executives driving IBM forward in the new millennium.
Virginia ‘Ginni’ Rometty
Virginia ‘Ginni’ Rometty has held a number of positions at IBM since joining the firm in Detroit in 1981. As of 2017, Rometty serves as IBM’s chief executive officer (CEO) and president, as well as the chair of the company’s board of directors. In her position at the head of IBM since 2012, Rometty has guided the company in developing data analysis software, cloud computing and the Watson artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
Previously, Rometty was the senior vice president and group executive for IBM’s sales and marketing. Earlier in her career at the firm, she was the senior vice president for IBM Global Business Services and worked to lead the successful process of integration of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting (PwC).
In addition to her position at IBM, Rometty sits on the Council on Foreign Relations, Northwestern University’s board of trustees, and the board of managers and overseers at Sloan-Kettering’s Cancer Center. She received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science at Northwestern University.
James Kavanaugh acts as IBM’s senior vice president of transformation and operations, appointed to this position in early 2015. Kavanaugh is tasked with the development and creation of a fully functioning business model that makes it possible for IBM to adapt to fundamental shifts in the marketplace. Kavanaugh oversees a global team that works together to combine key business functions that are imperative to the evolution and transformation of the company. This includes heading the office of business, architecture and transformation, as well as serving as IBM’s chief information officer (CIO) and managing real estate and procurement operations.
Prior to taking his current role, Kavanaugh was IBM controller and vice president of finance and operations for IBM’s division of distribution and sales. Before joining the IBM team in 1996, he served in prominent financially based roles at AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T). Kavanaugh earned his master’s in business administration at Ohio State University.
Martin Schroeter became IBM’s senior vice president and chief financial officer at the beginning of 2014. Schroeter is the person ultimately responsible for managing all financial operations at the $154 billion market cap company. Prior to filling this role, Schroeter served as the general manager of IBM Global Financing. In that position, he led the company's financing department, managing a customer base of over 125,000 across 50 countries and more than $37 billion in assets. Thus, Schroeter brings an expertise of working globally with an extensive customer pool and vast amounts of assets to his current position in the company.
Schroeter has also worked as IBM treasurer, overseeing and managing different aspects of the company, including currency risk management, cash flow, balance sheet and overall capital structure. Having worked at IBM for the majority of his career, Schroeter has also served as the assistant treasurer of capital markets, investments and foreign exchange; vice president of global technology services in the Asia Pacific region; and CFO and financial director of IBM in New Zealand and Australia. He received his bachelor’s degree at Temple University and his master’s degree in business administration at Carnegie Mellon University.