Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of WRAL Tech Wire and business editor of WRAL.com.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – IBM (NYSE: IBM) receives quite a 100th birthday media present in the new issue of Fortune magazine.

In a glowing profile of Chief Executive Officer Sam Palmisano ahead of June’s 100th IBM birthday, Fortune says Big Blue is “sexier than ever.”

Who deserves the credit?

Palmisano, writes Fortune’s Jessi Hempel.

In a huge 3,000-word story headlined “IBM’s Sam Palmisano: A super second act,” Hempel writes:

“Nine years after [Lou] Gerstner stepped down as CEO, IBM is financially and strategically stronger and, yes, sexier than ever – all thanks to Sam Palmisano, Gerstner’s successor.”

Hempel begins the story this way:

“CEO Sam Palmisano took a revitalized IBM and made it the envy of the tech world and darling of investors. His secret? He’s restored Big Blue’s focus on innovation and set it up for an even brighter future. (Move over, Lou Gerstner.)”

Hempel acknowledges Palmisano has also cut costs (“he’s done plenty of that, including shifting work from the U.S. to India”) while “remaking the company” with global expansion and embracing innovation.

Read the full profile here.

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