Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Business

IBM hosts subdued shareholders meeting in Tampa

TAMPA — This tale of two annual meetings held simultaneously in Florida Tuesday by a pair of corporate giants couldn't have a more stark contrast.

Protesters interrupted a lively Wells Fargo's shareholder meeting in Ponte Vedra Beach in which a community activist was removed.

Meanwhile across the state, IBM shareholders held a largely sedate morning gathering at the Marriott Waterside Hotel in Tampa.

Around 115 people attended including a front row filled with about a dozen current employees. Though foot traffic was scant, security was fairly robust compared to the crowd. Attendees had to walk through twin metal detectors to enter the meeting, and security was posted outside the bathrooms and near the main entrance to the hotel.

CEO Ginni Rometty led the meeting, delivering an update on IBM's plans and financial performance. She reaffirmed the company's push toward software instead of hardware as its way forward.

"Data is the world's new natural resource and the new basis for competitive advantage," she said.

The company of 380,000 employees reported $18.16 billion in revenue in its first quarter, down just under 3 percent from $18.68 billion in the year-ago quarter. Net income was down as well — falling to $1.75 billion from $2.01 billion.

Rometty had received criticism earlier for the $33 million annual pay package in a time of declining earnings, but shareholders gave a thumbs-up on the proposed compensation for its executives on Tuesday, including Rometty's package.

A preliminary advisory vote in favor of the proposed compensation was announced at the meeting. It will go next to the board of directors for final approval.

Among the agenda items was a shareholder proposal for increased transparency for IBM's lobbying expenses and agenda, as well as how much oversight the board of directors has over lobbying. Paul Neuhauser, a retired professor in Clearwater, presented the proposal.

"We are ever hopeful" IBM will be more transparent, he said after the event.

The only sign of discontent from shareholders came during the question-and-answer period. Tampa shareholder Mark Witte asked what IBM was doing to monetize intellectual property beyond the super-computer Watson to better compete with other tech companies and create higher dividends.

"(It's like) I'm with IBM on a Schwinn and everyone else is driving a Tesla," he said.

IBM is working on just that, Rometty said, by focusing on "software and services," her bread and butter at the company. Before becoming CEO in 2011, Rometty was vice president of IBM Global Business Services.

Witte, after the meeting, said he was satisfied with her answer.

An IBM spokesman said the company often rotates the location of its annual meeting among sites where it has standing operations. Previous annual meetings were at Savannah, Ga., and Huntsville, Ala.

Tampa's Rocky Point office is IBM's largest facility in the state. It has roughly 1,000 employees in the Tampa Bay area, though many of them work remotely.

Contact Malena Carollo at [email protected] Follow @malenacarollo.

Comments
Career Q&A: Nut allergy is a serious workplace concern

Career Q&A: Nut allergy is a serious workplace concern

Q: My manager has recently started eating nuts at her desk, which is located right next to mine. Unfortunately, I have a serious nut allergy, so any contact with them could produce a life-threatening reaction. Even foods which contain tiny pieces of ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Yes, we have some bananas: Port Tampa Bay welcomes first shipment in 21 years

Yes, we have some bananas: Port Tampa Bay welcomes first shipment in 21 years

TAMPA — More than two decades after the last bunch arrived on shore, bananas are back at Tampa’s port. More than 3,900 pallets of Chiquita bananas from Ecuador arrived last week at the new Port Logistics Refrigerated Services warehouse.It was the fir...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Guess co-founder steps aside after allegations from Kate Upton

Guess co-founder steps aside after allegations from Kate Upton

Associated PressNEW YORK — Guess Inc. says that co-founder Paul Marciano will give up his day-to-day responsibilities at the clothing company until a sexual misconduct investigation is completed. Model and actress Kate Upton told Time magazine earlie...
Published: 02/20/18
Grocery retailer Albertsons to buy drugstore chain Rite Aid

Grocery retailer Albertsons to buy drugstore chain Rite Aid

Associated PressThe privately held owner of Safeway, Vons and other grocery brands is plunging deeper into the pharmacy business with a deal to buy Rite Aid, the nation’s third-largest drugstore chain. Albertsons Companies is offering either a share ...
Published: 02/20/18
Following deaths from Irma, Florida looks to new rules for keeping nursing homes cool after outages

Following deaths from Irma, Florida looks to new rules for keeping nursing homes cool after outages

After national headlines and a public outcry over the deaths of 14 people at a Broward County nursing home after Hurricane Irma, nursing homes across the state are working to comply with new rules requiring them to have back-up power.But the process ...
Published: 02/20/18
Yoshi — car maintenance that comes to you — launches in Tampa Bay

Yoshi — car maintenance that comes to you — launches in Tampa Bay

A California-based company that promises to bring limited on-site car maintenance directly to you — from an oil change to a fill-up — has picked Tampa Bay as its next pit stop."Anything that your car needs, we’re going to bring to you," said Nick Ale...
Published: 02/20/18

Hernando Business Digest for Feb. 23

Business digestEventsCHAMBER RIBBON-CUTTINGS: The Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce will have two ribbon-cuttings in the coming week:• Access Health Care Physicians/Dr. Janice Rodriguez, 5290 Applegate Drive, Spring Hill, 10 a.m. Feb. 23. C...
Published: 02/20/18

Pasco Business Digest for Feb. 23

Business digestBrieflyLOCAL COMMUNITY RECOGNIZED: CHUY’S RESTAURANT TO OPEN: Chuy’s, the Austin-based Tex-Mex restaurant, will open its first Tampa Bay area location this spring near Cypress Creek Town Center in Wesley Chapel. The restaurant at 25750...
Published: 02/20/18
Steve Wozniak charms USF crowd: ‘The human or the technology — what’s more important?’

Steve Wozniak charms USF crowd: ‘The human or the technology — what’s more important?’

TAMPA — Steve Wozniak, the inventor of the Apple personal computer, is the tech genius who sounds less like an engineer, more like a philosopher.Startups? They can be a lot of fun — if started up for the right reason."The purpose should never be, thi...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Epilogue: Tourism community remembers Paradise founder Cedar Hames

Epilogue: Tourism community remembers Paradise founder Cedar Hames

When Cedar Hames spoke, you listened.He was a natural storyteller, always dressed sharp to match his wit and natural elegance. He grew a two-person business in St. Petersburg into a leading tourism, advertising and marketing agency over an esteemed 3...
Published: 02/19/18
Updated: 02/20/18