Congratulations to Ginni Rometty

Oct 26, 2011

IBMWe would all like to give a hearty congratulations to Virginia “Ginni” Rometty, who will be succeeding Sam Palmisano as the CEO of IBM on January 1st.  As indicated in this BusinessWeek article, Ms. Rometty has had an extraordinary career that spans many different functions and responsibilities, and she is clearly well placed to make a great American company even greater.  We look forward to working with her on major issues facing the business community.

Unfortunately for the U.S. business community, this is an all too rare example of a woman obtaining the a C-suite position in a Fortune 500 company.  As indicated in an important study from the Harvard Business Review entitled The Sponsor Effect: Breaking through the Last Glass Ceiling (Hewlett, Peraino, Sherbin and Sumberg; December 2010), women hold just 3 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions and account for less than 16% of all corporate officers.  Moreover, these numbers have barely moved – and in some cases have declined – over the last decade.  Interestingly, no one has a well-diagnosed reason for exactly why this is – particularly given that almost all of these companies have strong commitments to diversity, and many have programs specifically geared to help further the careers of women executives.

That is one of the key reasons why the Chamber organized its Center for Women in Business and has a keen focus on using the power and scope of the Chamber and its Federation to help women business leaders across the country.  One of our initial projects is to partner with Georgetown University to examine those major companies that have had particular success in finding and promoting women executives, and figure out what has allowed them to be so successful.  Those lessons can then be applied by other businesses.  We may well start our analysis with IBM!

Congratulations again to Ms. Rometty – a great executive for a great company.

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