IBM brings on four comms execs amid unit 'reworking'

Among the new hires are VPs Kevin McDermott and Erin Roche.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

ARMONK, NY: IBM has hired Edelman’s Erin Roche as VP of communications for systems amid a slate of executive communications hires at the technology company.

Roche began in the role on Monday. She previously worked at Edelman, where she was head of enterprise technology. Roche is reporting to Anne Marie Squeo, VP of Watson, cloud, and technology communications, who joined IBM last July after working at Netflix.

The company also brought on Kevin McDermott as VP of strategic and executive communications from Collective Intelligence, a consultancy he founded 16 years ago. He is leading executive communications for chairman and CEO Ginni Rometty and managing IBM’s team focused on narrative and future positioning, according to a company memo. Reporting to comms leader Ray Day, McDermott is replacing Mike Wing, who is retiring after 21 years at the company.

On March 19, IBM will bring on Carolina Mata as VP of employee and stakeholder communications and Angelena Abate as director of stakeholder comms. Mata will oversee comms strategy, plans, and programs for communicating with key IBM audiences, as well as improving employee communications. Reporting to Day, she will also lead channels communications. Mata is set to join IBM from software company Pitney Bowes, where she was most recently VP of marketing operations, insights, and client experience.

Abate will handle "the development and expansion of our comms expertise across multiple comms channels, including broadcast, consumer, social, events, internal, and our SME network," according to the memo. She was most recently VP at Civic Entertainment Group, according to her LinkedIn account.

The appointments are taking place about three months after Ray Day, former communications leader at Ford Motor, succeeded the retiring Jon Iwata as the company’s top comms executive.

Day said via email that IBM is reorganizing communications "based on the story we are telling and the audiences we are working to reach." The company plans to prioritize building out its reputation, brand, and comms capabilities, as well as proactive storytelling and engagement.

"We’re reworking the entire team and the way we work," said Day.

IBM reported better-than-expected earnings in the fourth quarter of last year, the first time in five years it saw revenue growth. It also took a one-time charge of $5.5 billion due to the tax-reform law, according to CNBC.

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