February 16, 2012
Last week, Sam Palmisano visited Europe on a three day programme in Amsterdam/The Hague and Brussels to engage with Dutch Ministers, top clients, EU commissioners and senior officials — and the new Prime Minister of Belgium.
Sam's meeting with the Dutch Minister of Security and Justice, Ivo Opstelten focused on the national strategy on Cybersecurity and the transformation of the Dutch national police. Meeting the Vice Prime Minister/Minister of Economic Affairs, Maxime Verhagen was an opportunity to advise the Vice Prime Minister on IBM's Smarter Spending strategy. With the Mayor of Amsterdam, Eberhard van der Laan, Sam discussed the Smarter Cities concept and brainstormed with the Mayor how the latter could position Amsterdam as the Innovation Hub for North Western Europe.
IBM's chairman met also with several of the EU commissioners to discuss EU's current and future technological, transportation and economic challenges. With the Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn (Commissioner - Research, Innovation & Science), Sam reviewed Europe's new R&D program - Horizon 2020, while Siim Kallas, Vice-President, Transport Commissioner discussed the opportunity to position IBM as the trusted advisor on Intelligent Transport Systems and multimodal transport systems. Vice President & Commissioner Tajani (Industry & Entrepreneurship) hosted Sam as the former drives through an important ICT standardization reform.
Sam concluded his programme with a lecture on Innovation & Leadership to 150 top EU influencers in an event staged by think tank The Lisbon Council. He followed the Lecture with a VIP discussion lunch with a selected group of high level EU officials — and a one-on-one meeting with Elio di Rupo, the new prime minister of Belgium.
The programme was the culmination of a good deal of relationship-building over the last 12 months. It will be the springboard for concrete policy-building and thought leadership through 2012.