Rometty currently works as senior vice president and group executive of IBM Sales, Marketing and Strategy, a role that has had her directly accountable to Palmisano for IBM’s $99 billion in revenue.
Rometty has hardly flown under the radar prior to the announcement–she’s made Fortune magazine’s list of 50 most powerful women for six years running.
Rometty graduated with a degree in computer science and electrical engineering from Northwestern University.
Right after she received her diploma she worked at the General Motors Institute, a program that put recent graduates through their paces working in different departments at the car company.
That was the only other company she’s worked with in her entire venerable career, because in 1981 she started up with IBM.
For 30 years she’s worked her way up and around various positions within Big Blue, starting first as a systems engineer at a branch office, and working at various points in her career as the general manager of IBM’s Global and Financial Services Sector, and as head of head of IBM’s Insurance Research Centers in New York, Switzerland and Japan.
Rometty really started to distinguish herself when a decade into her career she moved into IBM’s Consulting Group in 1991 and eventually worked her way up to lead the entire IBM Global Business Services business as senior vice president.
It was in that role that in 2003 she led the groundbreaking takeover and integration of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting within the IBM services framework.
In 2009, she took that expertise to her current role as head of IBM Sales, Marketing and Strategy, where she’s been the executive force behind IBM’s drive into emerging markets like Brazil and China.