Only a few weeks after Meg Whitman took over as CEO of Hewlett-Packard, another successful businesswoman has ascended to the throne of a technology giant. As of January 1, 2012, Virginia Rometty, known as Ginni to her peers and colleagues, will take over as CEO of IBM for Sam Palmisano, who had been the head executive for 2002. Palmisano oversaw IBM’s rise to dominance in the supercomputer arena, best exemplified by the smashing success of Watson on Jeopardy.
Rometty has some big shoes to fill, but it’s a task Palmisano, who will remain with IBM as chairman of the board, feels she is more than up to. Unlike Whitman, Rometty isn’t coming in as an outsider. She has been with IBM for 30 years, and has been heavily involved in the Watson project, spearheading efforts to create commercial applications for the technology.
One woman won’t change the disparity between male and female members of upper management in the technology world overnight, but the fact that two of the largest technology firms are led by women is setting a great example for all ambitious women looking to get in the field of technology. The deck might still be stacked, but the possibilities exist.
As for the future, Rometty isn’t content with coasting on what IBM has already accomplished. IBM has had to reinvent itself many times over the years to stay relevant, and Rometty has already made it clear she’ll be ready to guide IBM as it evolves and changes with the world around it.