SVP, marketing and communications, IBM
Jon Iwata's lofty position as head of marcomms at IBM, a perennial Fortune 20 company (ranked 19 this year), has cemented his annual place in PRWeek's Power List. As the man who oversees the company's strategy team, he fully has CEO Virginia Rometty's ear. He leads a global staff responsible for communications, marketing, and corporate affairs.
Heard of Watson? You know, that artificial intelligence computer system capable of answering questions in natural language. The one that dominated past champions on Jeopardy! last year and took home a handful of 2012 PRWeek Awards, including Campaign of the Year. Iwata headed the creative vision that developed not only the global marcomms effort around the computer that is now working with medical centers on diagnosing and treating cancer, but the company's universally lauded "Smarter Planet" agenda.
"Jon has built and enabled world-class teams Ð and he gives them the autonomy to develop and lead," explains a high-ranking executive in IBM's communications department. "Companies come from all over the world to benchmark with IBM communications."
His efforts on behalf of his company are well established. However, when he was named chairman of the Arthur W. Page Society in September 2011, he assumed a role that gives him the type of wide-reaching influence that merits his ascension to this top position.
"Jon is a transformational leader, both inside IBM and in the profession," says current Page Society president Roger Bolton. "When I became chairman of the Page Society in 2006, my first move was to ask Jon to lead our new foray into thought leadership. Since then, we have created ‘The Authentic Enterprise' and ‘Building Belief,' the new model of corporate communications."
Upon his appointment as Page Society chair, Iwata said, "The context in which corporations operate is undergoing historic change. CCOs are at the forefront of understanding and embracing this change."
The industry can embrace the chance to learn from someone who holds two prominent positions from which he can provide an example of the best of PR.