Ginni Rometty: Head of IBM Business Consulting Services

Scuba diving is good training for a woman who wants to change the shape of IBM

On a steamy day last July, IBM had just announced a deal to buy the consulting arm of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) for $3.5 billion, and Virginia Rometty, known to friends and customers alike as Ginni, had been tapped to head the new division. As Rometty, 45, was shuttled around New York City from one TV studio to another for interviews about the big news, the Chicago native insisted on taking time to call a few of her major customers to assure them that she would stay involved in their accounts during the transition.

It was vintage Rometty, whose people skills and relentless...

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