On this website, we focus on influential people. We dive into the background and history of today’s leading professionals. We like to tell the stories of the men and women who are making a difference in today’s business world. So, today we are featuring Virginia “Ginni” Marie Rometty of IBM.
Ginni Rometty was born in Chicago, Illinois on July 29, 1957, as Virginia Marie Nicosia. She grew up outside of Chicago and was the eldest of four children in an Italian-American family. Her parents divorced and her father left when she was just fifteen years old. Her mom had to take on multiple jobs to support the family. This left Rometty to look after her siblings. These beginnings taught her valuable life skills and leadership qualities.
She then began her studies in 1975 with a General Motor’s scholarship at Northwestern University. She completed an internship between her junior and senior years and was also a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. She eventually served as its president. She graduated with distinction from the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science four years later. Her Bachelor’s degree was in computer science and electrical engineering. Since then, she received honorary doctoral degrees including one from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Northwestern University. She received an honorary degree from North Carolina State University.
Today she is an American business executive, serving as the executive chairman of IBM. She started as a systems engineer and later headed IBM’s global sales, marketing, and strategy before becoming its president and CEO. While general manager of IBM’s global services division, she negotiated the company’s purchase of PricewaterhouseCoopers IT consulting business. She became known for her work integrating the two companies. As CEO, she refocused IBM on analytics, cloud computing, and cognitive computing systems.
Her tenure as IBM’s CEO was marked by noteworthy awards, including Forbes‘ America’s Top 50 Women In Tech, Time’s 20 Most Important People in Tech, Bloomberg’s 50 Most Influential People in the World, and Fortune’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business”. But Ginni Rometty’s leadership hasn’t been without its share of criticism. Critics often point out the executive compensation bonuses, layoffs, outsourcing, and years of revenue decline.