New IBM CEO means two top tech chiefs are womenOctober 25, 2011: 5:41 PM ET
Ginni Rometty is the next CEO of IBM, the company announced this afternoon.
With that news comes a stunning stat: America's two largest tech companies will be headed by women.
Meg Whitman, who built eBay (EBAY), became CEO of Hewlett-Packard last month.
Both women spoke at the recent Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit. Rometty's main message (and one that Whitman also embraces:): "Growth and comfort do not coexist," she said.
Serious career risk has come with every promotion she's taken, said Rometty, 54, who started at IBM in 1981 as a systems engineer, led the growth of IBM's crucial services business and currently heads global sales and marketing. "When did I learn the most in my life, in my career? When I took a risk. It's when I think I learned the most."
Rometty says that Palmisano advised her: "Be first and be lonely." Meaning: While most executives gravitate to spaces where somebody already is, you make bigger career leaps (as well as bigger money) by being a pioneer. That, she is.