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Icons of Progress


No product, idea, or achievement is possible without our most critical asset—the collective thought capital of hundreds of thousands of IBMers. The expertise, technical skill, willingness to take risk and overall dedication of IBM employees have led to countless transformative innovations through the years. Meet team members who contributed to this Icon of Progress.

  • Louis V. Gerstner Jr. 

    Lou Gerstner

    Louis Gerstner Jr. was chairman of the board of IBM from April 1993 until his retirement in December 2002. He was chief executive officer of IBM from 1993 until March 2002. In January 2003, he became chairman of The Carlyle Group, a global private equity firm in Washington, DC. Before joining IBM, Gerstner was chairman and chief executive officer of RJR Nabisco, Inc. He also held senior positions at American Express and McKinsey & Co., and was a director of Bristol-Myers Squibb. He has a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, and an MBA from Harvard Business School in Massachusetts.

  • Irving Wladawsky-Berger 

    Irving Wladowsky

    Before he retired from IBM in June 2007, Dr. Irving Wladawsky-Berger worked to identify emerging technologies and marketplace developments critical to the future of the IT industry, and then organize activities within and outside of IBM to capitalize on them. He began that role in December 1995, when he was charged with formulating the company’s Internet strategy, and developing and bringing to market Internet technologies that would fit into IBM’s mainstream business. Wladawsky-Berger also has led a number of companywide initiatives, including IBM’s work on Linux®, next-generation Internet efforts and grid computing. He received an MS and a PhD in physics from the University of Chicago. He began his IBM career in 1970 at the company’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center. Currently, he is chairman emeritus of the IBM Academy of Technology and visiting professor of engineering systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  • Abby Kohnstamm 

    Abby Kohnstamm

    Abby Kohnstamm was senior vice president, marketing of IBM from 1993 to early 2006. In that role she was responsible for all aspects of the company’s marketing. She oversaw the Effie award-winning e-business campaign and was named an Advertising Age “Power Player” in 2006. She was the first woman to be named senior vice president at IBM. After leaving the company, she founded Abby F. Kohnstamm & Associates, a marketing consulting firm, where she is president and chief executive officer. She continues as a consultant for IBM. Before joining IBM, Kohnstamm held senior positions in marketing at American Express. She also sits on the boards of Tiffany & Co. and Progressive Corp. Kohnstamm holds a BA from Tufts University, an MA in Education from New York University, and an MBA from New York University.

  • Jon Iwata 

    Jon Iwata

    Jon Iwata is senior vice president of marketing and communications for IBM. He leads the company’s marketing, communications and citizenship organization. Iwata and his team have led the development of IBM’s Smarter Planet strategy, and Watson, the computer system that defeated two human contestants in the television game show Jeopardy! He joined the communications function of IBM in 1984 at the company’s Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California. In 1989, he joined IBM corporate headquarters in Armonk, New York. Iwata was appointed vice president of corporate communications in 1995, and senior vice president of communications in 2002. He assumed his current role on July 1, 2008. He holds a BA from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at San Jose State University, and is co-inventor of a US patent for advanced semiconductor lithography technology.