Virginia Rometty was named the first female CEO of the 100 year old company IBM last week. The Board of Directors of IBM announced that she would succeed current CEO Samuel J. Palmisano when he leaves on January 1st 2012. Rometty joined the company in 1981 as a systems engineer and rose through the ranks to become Sales and Marketing Chief. She supervised IBM’s acquisition of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting in 2002. The $3.5 billion deal was a seen as a risk for IBM and Rometty received praise for her successful integration of the two companies.
Rometty will become only the 17th woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company when she takes over for Palmisano next year. IBM, known for its male workers dressed in blue blazers, has strived to end the perception that it is a “boy’s club.” Rometty had been a front runner to succeed Palmisano because of her experience and success with the company. Palmisano stressed that she was named CEO because of her skills and talents, telling the New York Times, “Ginni got it because she deserved it. It’s got zero to do with progressive social policies.”