IBM Doesn't like drama -- and it proved that late last month when, without fanfare, its board of directors named 30-year company veteran Virginia Rometty to succeed Sam Palmisano as CEO.

Rometty will replace a somewhat reserved figure who didn't seek the spotlight in Washington or Silicon Valley, but who nevertheless brought big changes to IBM and set clear directions for it.

Rometty, the company's senior vice president and group executive for sales, marketing and strategy, will take over as CEO on Jan. 1. Palmisano will remain chairman of the board.

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