Jump to content

Samuel J. Palmisano

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Samuel J. Palmisano
Palmisano in March 2013
Born (1951-07-29) July 29, 1951 (age 72) [1]
EducationBachelor of Arts (1973)
Alma materJohns Hopkins University
Years active1973–present
EmployerIBM (1973–2012)
PredecessorLouis V. Gerstner, Jr.
SuccessorVirginia M. Rometty
Board member ofIBM Corporation, 2000
ExxonMobil Corp., 2006
Spouse(s)Gaier Notman, known as Missy
Childrenthree sons, one daughter
WebsiteIBM - Samuel J. Palmisano
IBM Archives: Samuel J. Palmisano

Samuel J. "Sam" Palmisano (born July 29, 1951)[1] is a former president and the eighth chief executive officer of IBM until January 2012.[6] He also served as chairman of the company until October 1, 2012.[7]

Palmisano was appointed president and chief operating officer (COO) effective in October 2000.[8] He was promoted to CEO in March 2002, while retaining the title of president, and named chairman effective January 1, 2003. Palmisano announced on October 25, 2011, that he was stepping aside as president and CEO. He was succeeded in these positions by Ginni Rometty.[6]

As of 2009, IBM was the largest IT company in the world and 45th largest company overall.[9][10]

Education and personal life


Palmisano grew up in an Italian-American middle class family in Baltimore, Maryland. His father owned a body shop.[11]

As an offensive lineman at Calvert Hall College High School in Baltimore, Maryland he prepared earnestly, studying pregame scouting reports and seldom missed a blocking assignment.[citation needed] He was also a union musician, and once was the opening act and played backup saxophone for The Temptations.[12]

He holds a bachelor's degree in history from Johns Hopkins University where he was member of Beta Theta Pi. He also played football (center, offensive tackle, team co-captain) there, and turned down an opportunity to try out with the Oakland Raiders.[2][3]

He met his wife, Gaier Notman, a 1969 alumna of Miss Porter's School, at an IBM training school.[13]



IBM 1973-2012


Palmisano joined IBM in 1973 as a salesman.

From 1989-1990, he served a one-year stint as executive assistant to then-chairman and CEO John F. Akers.[1] During that time Palmisano was seen as a rising star and he had lunch with former chairman Thomas Watson, Jr. once per month. Palmisano afterwards ran the company's Japanese office.[2]

He was appointed senior vice president and group executive of the Personal Systems Group in 1997. He was then promoted to senior vice president and group executive of IBM Global Services in 1998, during the period when IBM shifted its focus from pure technology to embrace outsourcing and other services. He became senior vice president and group executive of Enterprise Systems in 1999 when the systems group drove IBM's move to adopt the Linux operating system.

Before leading IBM Global Services, Palmisano led the IBM strategic outsourcing business and before that, he was president of an IBM subsidiary—Integrated Systems Solutions Corporation—which ultimately became IBM Global Services.[14]

Palmisano was elected president and chief operating officer (COO) effective in October 2000.[8]

Chief Executive Officer


Palmisano was promoted to CEO in March 2002 and named chairman effective January 1, 2003, succeeding the retiring Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. after the Dot-com bubble bust. While his predecessor had saved the company from bankruptcy by downsizing the workforce and cutting costs and then leading IBM's resurgence with systems integration and services consulting (such as e-commerce), Palmisano's goal was to reestablish IBM as a standard-setting company. He was influenced by the Watsons, the company founders who "always defined I.B.M. as a company that did more than sell computers; they believed that it had an important role to play in solving societal challenges".[3] [4]

Palmisano's mandate was to move into new businesses with high-profit margins and potential for innovation. This included purchasing PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting in 2002 so that IBM could go beyond selling computers and software and help customers use technology to solve business challenges (marketing, procurement, and manufacturing). During his tenure, the company also acquired 25 software companies that specialized in data mining and analytics so that IBM could help companies and governments to find patterns in web and internal data. Palmisano also prepared the company for cloud computing, originally known inside IBM as on-demand computing, where the center of innovation would be services and software, delivered over the Internet from data centers and connecting to PCs and other devices.[5] [6]

In 2008, despite the financial crisis and economic recession [7], he launched I.B.M.’s Smarter Planet initiative which applies computer intelligence to create more efficient systems for numerous applications including utility grids and traffic management.[8] Although the services and consulting businesses, which then-CEO Gerstner had championed, provided most of IBM's revenue, software analytics had higher margins, contributed more profits and had more growth.[10]

Palmisano also led the sale of the PC group to Lenovo which closed in 2005. The move was controversial inside IBM, as it had invented the personal computer in the 1980s, and the PC was one of the company's few products widely used by the masses and created strong brand recognition for IBM. Although it fell behind rivals during the 1990s, that division helped drive sales of other I.B.M. products in corporate accounts, and its purchasing power helped lower the cost of components for larger IBM offerings like mainframes and servers.

As IBM's PC group was profitable and generated around US$20 billion in yearly revenue, the divestiture resulted in IBM ceding the title of the world's largest information technology firm (by revenue) to Hewlett-Packard, the latter whose revenue had increased due to the acquisition of Compaq in 2002. However to Palmisano, moving to new high-margin businesses meant exiting low-margin businesses like PC manufacturing, plus PC manufacturing was becoming commoditized and offered few opportunities for innovation. It took five years but Palmisano was vindicated from 2010 onward as the Post-PC era of technology took hold[failed verification].[9] [10][10] Also recognizing that drives were becoming a commodity, he sold off IBM's disk drive business to Hitachi and then signed a five-year deal to buy Hitachi drives.[11]

As CEO of IBM, Palmisano has shifted many development and support positions to emerging markets.[15]

He was elected to the board of ExxonMobil in 2006. In 2021, he was voted off the board after an ESG - based shareholder revolt led by activist hedge fund Engine 1. He is also the Honorary Chairman of National Engineers Week 2008.

In November 2008, Palmisano, during a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, outlined IBM's Smarter Planet initiative.[16]

While CEO of IBM in 2009, Palmisano earned a total compensation of $21,159,289, which included a base salary of $1,800,000, a cash bonus of $4,750,000, stocks granted of $13,517,401, no options, and other compensation of $1,091,888.[17]

In 2010 Palmisano was awarded The Deming Cup, an excellence award presented by the W. Edwards Deming Center for Quality, Productivity, and Competitiveness at Columbia Business School, for his ability to drive IBM to new levels of operational excellence and for his role in creating and leading IBM's Global Services business unit.

Palmisano announced on October 25, 2011, that he was stepping aside as president and CEO, being succeeded by Ginni Rometty effective on January 1, 2012.[6] Palmisano continued to serve as chairman of the board until October 1, 2012.[7]

After IBM


Samuel J. Palmisano is the chairman of the Center for Global Enterprise, a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research institution devoted to the study of contemporary corporation, the management science in a globally interconnected world. The CGE was established in 2013 to help educate societal stakeholders – as well as leaders from the private sector, public sector, and academia – on the globally integrated economy and its promise for a better future.[18]

In May 2013, Bloomberg LP appointed Palmisano as an independent advisor for the company's privacy and data standards.[19]

In February 2016, President Barack Obama appointed Palmisano as the vice chairman[20] of a new White House cybersecurity commission tasked with helping the country better defend itself against and withstand cyber attacks, The Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity.[21]


  1. ^ a b "Samuel J. Palmisano" (fee, via Fairfax County Public Library). The Complete Marquis Who's Who. Marquis Who's Who. Gale Biography In Context. 2010. Retrieved 5 Feb 2011. Gale Document Number: GALE|K2014847545
  2. ^ a b Feder, Barnaby J. (August 15, 2001). "MANAGEMENT; Waiting to Call Plays for I.B.M." New York Times. Retrieved 2011-02-06.
  3. ^ a b Richtel, Matt (January 30, 2002). "A Gerstner Loyalist Cut From Quite Different Style". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-02-06.
  4. ^ "Samuel J. Palmisano" (fee, via Fairfax County Public Library). Newsmakers. Detroit: Gale Biography In Context. 2003. Retrieved 5 Feb 2011. Gale Document Number: GALE|K1618003640
  5. ^ Thottam, Jyoti; Eisenberg, Daniel (Jan 20, 2003). "There's A New Way To Think Big Blue". Time. Archived from the original on February 4, 2013. Retrieved 2011-02-06.
  6. ^ a b c Lohr, Steve (October 25, 2011). "I.B.M. Names Virginia Rometty as New Chief Executive". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-01-20.
  7. ^ a b "Samuel J. Palmisano, CEO 2002 - 2011: full biography". News room > Biographies. IBM. October 2012. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
  8. ^ a b "Samuel J. Palmisano Named IBM President, Chief Operating Officer; John M. Thompson Named Vice Chairman". IBM News room. July 24, 2000. Retrieved 2012-01-20.
  9. ^ Forbes International Business Machines 2009 Snapshot.
  10. ^ a b c "Senior Writer". CNN.
  11. ^ "IBM's Sam Palmisano: A super second act - Fortune Tech". Archived from the original on 2011-03-04.
  12. ^ Hempel, Jessi (2011-04-04). "IBM's Sam Palmisano: A super second act". Fortune. Retrieved 2018-07-09.
  13. ^ "Miss Porter's School 2009–2010 Annual Report" (PDF). Miss Porter's School. 2010-12-03. p. 1 (2 of 34). Retrieved 2011-02-06.
  14. ^ "Samuel J. Palmisano". IBM Archives. 23 January 2003.
  15. ^ Ribeiro, John (May 5, 2003). "IBMs Palmisano visits India". Infoworld.
  16. ^ "The W. Edwards Deming Center for Quality, Productivity and Competitiveness Awards Samuel Palmisano, President, Chairman and CEO of the IBM Corporation, The Deming Cup". IBM News room. October 19, 2010.
  17. ^ 2009 CEO Compensation for Samuel J. Palmisano Archived 2009-04-14 at the Wayback Machine, Equilar
  18. ^ Suite 1700, The Center for Global Enterprise 200 Park Avenue; York, New; E, Ny 10166 T. 646-632-3742. "Samuel J. Palmisano". The Center for Global Enterprise. Retrieved 2019-07-31.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  19. ^ Twomey, Matt (17 May 2013). "Bloomberg Appoints Former IBM CEO as Privacy Advisor". CNBC. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
  20. ^ Newman, Rick (18 February 2016). "Obama appointee gave $100,000 to Jeb Bush's super PAC". Yahoo Finance. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  21. ^ Darrow, Barb (February 18, 2016). "Former IBM Chief Named to Obama Cybersecurity Team". Fortune.
Business positions
Preceded by CEO of IBM
Succeeded by