Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Business

IBM shareholders meet in Tampa today to decide CEO Ginni Rometty's compensation

TAMPA — IBM shareholders will meet today at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina to decide, among other issues, whether to approve CEO Ginni Rometty's $33 million compensation package.

Rometty generated controversy following a March 13 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that revealed her pay, which some shareholders felt was too generous given the company's performance under her leadership.

IBM's revenue has dipped in the past five years. Its shares dropped 13 percent over that period, and the most recent quarterly report showed revenue at its lowest in 15 years.

And Rometty's compensation could be even higher than disclosed. A Bloomberg report released Monday said the $33 million figure may be underestimated by at least 50 percent because of the way that the company values its stock.

Her base pay, including shares and bonuses, is $21 million.

Rometty is IBM's first female CEO, tapped to become its leader after rising through the company's ranks to senior vice president of IBM Global Business Services. A 36-year veteran at Big Blue, she helped the company transition its focus to software instead of the long focused-on hardware tact the company had followed and helped create the business services division.

Shareholders will also vote on other executive officers' compensation and whether to make its lobbying practices and expenses more transparent. IBM has offices in the Rocky Point area.

Tuesday's meeting will be the second time IBM's shareholders have met in Tampa. The company held its 1993 meeting at the Tampa Convention Center.

Other mega multinational companies have chosen Tampa for their annual meeting location, including JP Morgan Chase in 2013 and 2012.

The addition of IBM to the corporate lineup is a coup for Tampa Bay Lightning owner and developer Jeff Vinik, who bought the Marriott Waterside in 2014 for $150 million as part of an ongoing multi-billion dollar development project he is pursuing for downtown Tampa.

Strategic Property Partners, the joint venture formed by Vinik and Cascade Investment, plans to add another downtown hotel with 400 rooms to the area. The yet-unnamed development project is expected to make the downtown area more walkable and attractive to wealthy out-of-state businesses.

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

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