THE IBM (NYSE: IBM) board of directors has elected Virginia M. Rometty to be president and chief executive officer of the company, effective January 1, 2012.
She was also elected a member of the board of directors, effective from the same date.
Ms Rometty is currently IBM senior vice president and group executive for sales, marketing and strategy. She succeeds Samuel J. Palmisano, who is currently IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer.
Mr Palmisano will remain chairman of the board.
"Ginni Rometty has successfully led several of IBM's most important businesses over the past decade - from the formation of IBM Global Business Services to the build-out of our Growth Markets Unit," Mr Palmisano said.
"But she is more than a superb operational executive. With every leadership role, she has strengthened our ability to integrate IBM's capabilities for our clients. She has spurred us to keep pace with the needs and aspirations of our clients by deepening our expertise and industry knowledge.
"Ginni's long-term strategic thinking and client focus are seen in our growth initiatives, from cloud computing and analytics to the commercialization of Watson."
Ms Rometty said: "There is no greater privilege in business than to be asked to lead IBM, especially at this moment."
As global sales leader for IBM, Ms Rometty, 54, is accountable for revenue, profit, and client satisfaction in the 170 global markets in which IBM does business. She is responsible for IBM's worldwide results, which exceeded $99 billion in 2010.
Previously, Ms Rometty was senior vice president of IBM Global Business Services. In that role, she led the successful integration of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting -- the largest acquisition in professional services history, building a global team of more than 100,000 business consultants and services experts.
She has also served as general manager of IBM Global Services, Americas, and of IBM's Global Insurance and Financial Services Sector.
Ms Rometty joined IBM in 1981 as a systems engineer. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree with high honors in computer science and electrical engineering from Northwestern University.
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