Updated Feb. 14, 2017 at 8:55 a.m.

IBM's top exec defends Trump role in letter to employees

Published: 2017-02-14 07:39:00
Updated: 2017-02-14 08:55:57


Some IBM workers as well as thousands of other tech company employees at Google and elsewhere continue to speak out against President Donald Trump. But in a letter to IBMers, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty defends her continuing role as a member of a Trump advisory committee.

In a letter to the IBM "Team" titled "Engaging the World," Rometty wrote:

"Some have suggested that we should not engage with the U.S. administration. I disagree.

"Our experience has taught us that engagement – reaching out, listening and having authentic dialogue – is the best path to good outcomes.IBM does not espouse a partisan or political point of view."

Apple CEO Tim Cook also has defended interacting with Trump, saying it is important to have a "seat at the table."

IBM's diversity logo Elon Musk also has resisted calls to have no dealings with Trump.

Yet in her letter Rometty cited the value of face-to-face talk, noting that by talking with Trump she has been able to make clear - in person - her opposition to the immigration crackdown as well as her and IBM's commitment to diversity.

"At the White House, we discussed a wide range of issues – from smarter infrastructure investments, to increasing the number of women in the work force, to cybersecurity, to jobs. And, of course, we spoke about the president’s recent executive order affecting immigration and travel," she explained.

"Into this discussion I brought IBM's perspective as a truly global company. We employ people serving clients in more than 170 countries, and we embrace people of all faiths and backgrounds.

"We would not be the company we are today without the benefit of immigration and the flow of talent across all our markets. From this great diversity, we draw strength as a company.

"Because we are so large and so global, our perspective is also special. IBMers and their families have been touched by terrorist attacks, from New York, to Paris, to the skies over Egypt. And IBMers have been touched, too, by the executive order put in place two weeks ago.

"In every case, my first priority has been to support and care for the employees and families most directly affected.As elected leaders make decisions on national policy, we seek to provide ideas and solutions grounded in our values and technological expertise."

Rometty has been taking criticism from some IBMers since before Trump was sworn into office, as WTW reported back in December.

"IBM does not espouse a partisan or political point of view," Rometty wrote in a letter she posted from the Untied Area Emirates - not a bastion of equality for women's rights and diversity but a place where IBM does business.

"Alone among our major competitors, we do not make political contributions, and we do not endorse candidates for office. We never have," Rometty said.

"But if IBM does not have politics, it does have values. IBMers believe in helping our clients succeed beyond even their own expectations; in innovation that matters to the world; in building relationships based on trust and personalres ponsibility.

"And we have always led the world of business in diversity,inclusion and tolerance. Inspired by those values and that legacy, I offer every government leader with whom I engage innovative ideas to address national challenges.

"This is what we do. It has been our ethos for more than a century. And it’s why so many of us chose to become IBMers. Where others see the unsolvable, we see solutions. I could not be more proud of what you do every day to live our Values and to make the world a better place. It is what makes IBM, IBM."

She signed the letter "Ginni."

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I thought it was a superb letter that makes me even prouder to be an IBMer. This is my personal opinion.
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