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Samuel J. Palmisano Continues To Guide IBM!

Some say that a real leader is one who knows when to lead and when to follow.  In the case of the tech sector, executives in leadership roles have a tendency to be deposed (usually for failing to meet a financial goal the company set), retire, or quite to move on to their next big project or company.  It is a rare leader who is willing to give up the lion’s share of control for the benefit of their company and yet continue to work under their successor.  Samuel J. Palmisano, former CEO of IBM, is one such impressive leader.


Samuel J. Palmisano currently serves IBM as the Chairman of the Board of Directors and the Chair of the Executive Committee.  He has held those roles since Virginia Rometty replaced him as President and CEO of IBM.  A team player who welcomed the vision of a new leader, Palmisano continues to lead IBM by executing Rometty’s new direction and plans for the company.  Given how IBM has been performing since the change in leadership, it is clear they make an excellent team; Samuel J. Palmisano’s experience is, no doubt, a real asset to Virginia Rometty.


A former high school and college football player, Samuel J. Palmisano was offered a chance to try out for the Oakland Raiders while he attended Johns Hopkins University.  Surprising many people, Palmisano prioritized his education over his athletics and when he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in 1973, he joined the workforce instead of following the scouts to a potential NFL career.  That move defined Samuel J. Palmisano’s life; the first job he took out of college was as a salesman for IBM.


Samuel J. Palmisano is a one-company man, at least for his primary career.  His story is the classic American success story as he worked his way up from the bottom of the corporate ladder at IBM.  Starting as a salesman in 1973, Palmisano served IBM with such distinction that when IBM’s subsidiary Integrated Systems Solution Corporation needed a new President, Palmisano was tapped to lead that company!  Samuel J. Palmisano redirected IBM by strategically outsourcing certain operations and when IBM re-integrated and reorganized the Integrated Systems Solution Corporation as IBM Global Services, he was promoted to Senior Vice President and Group Executive of the new branch.


Only three years after being promoted to his first Senior Vice President position, Samuel J. Palmisano was elected President and Chief Operating Officer of IBM.  In 2002, he was promoted to CEO and a year later he also assumed the mantle of Chairman of the Board!  At the beginning of 2012, Palmisano relinquished the roles of President and CEO, but with almost forty years of experience, Samuel J. Palmisano remains invaluable to IBM.



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