IBM names Jon Iwata first chief brand officer

The 33-year IBM veteran is also serving as chairman of the newly created IBM Values and Policy Advisory Board, which recommends policies and principles for the company.

ARMONK, NY: Jon Iwata has stepped into the newly created role of chief brand officer at IBM.

Iwata, who also holds the title of SVP, is continuing to report to IBM chairman, president, and CEO Ginni Rometty. He is overseeing communications and corporate citizenship staff.

Iwata deferred inquiries seeking comment to Edward Barbini, VP of corporate communications at IBM.

Iwata, who started in the role on August 1, is focusing on stewarding the IBM brand across stakeholder groups including clients, investors, employees, and communities, as well as transforming the company’s culture. He is also working to shape its strategic dialogue with the outside world on issues and policies at the intersection of business, technology, and society, said Barbini, via email.

Iwata is also serving as chairman of the newly created IBM Values and Policy Advisory Board, which works to recommend policy and principles for the company, such as its recent guidelines on AI, Barbini said.

Iwata has worked at IBM since 1984. He was appointed SVP of communications in 2002 and SVP of marketing and communications in 2008. At that time, IBM combined marketing, comms, and CSR into one organization and selected Iwata to lead it.

Last year, Iwata recruited Michelle Peluso as the first CMO in IBM’s history. Effective August 1, she added SVP to her title. Peluso, who previously reported to Iwata, is reporting to Rometty, although she will work closely with Iwata, said Barbini.

Iwata has been featured several times on PRWeek’s Power List, most recently at the number 12 position in 2016. In 2012, he ranked number one on the list.

Other recent IBM hires include former Hewlett-Packard and Disney marcomms executive Michael Mendenhall as CMO and chief communications officer for the Watson division and cloud platform and Anne Marie Squeo, formerly of Netflix, as corporate communications VP.

IBM is the latest in a string of major companies to create a chief brand officer position. Uber hired Apple marketing executive Bozoma Saint John as its first chief brand officer in early June, and Ford Motor named Apple’s Musa Tariq to fill the newly created role of VP and chief brand officer early this year.

This story was updated to correct the number of years Iwata has worked at IBM.

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