Once You Buy a Prize, It’s Yours to Keep!


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Outgoing IBM CEO Ginni Rometty has filed 167 SEC Form 4s detailing her stock transactions in the company.

So I downloaded and compiled all of them to see how much money she has sucked out of IBM, just like I did for outgoing Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg.

Shot, Chaser.

So I downloaded and compiled every SEC Form 4 filing that former Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg has ever made, to answer one simple question: how much money did Dennis Muilenburg suck out of Boeing over the last ten years? … Continue reading

As with Muilenburg, I’m not even going to count Rometty’s salary and annual cash bonuses. I’m not going to count the corporate jet. I’m not going to count the Augusta National membership and all that. Nope, you’ve gotta work hard to fritter away a national treasure like IBM into irrelevance, so let’s not begrudge the woman whatever tens of millions of dollars she’s been paid in cash comp, and let’s not begrudge her the well-deserved downtime on the links or sipping mint juleps in her green jacket. Besides, cash comp is for suckers. Just ask Jamie Dimon.

So here we go. Ready?

Over the past fifteen years, Ginni Rometty has acquired or been granted about 850,000 shares of IBM stock (all of this information is publicly available in the SEC Form 4s). Most of this stock was given to her gratis, but she had to pay to exercise some of this as options. The total price paid for all of these shares by Rometty was $25.7 million, which works out to an average price of $30.31 per share.

Rometty has sold more than 550,000 of these shares over the years in more than 50 separate transactions for a total of $84 million, at an average price of $152 per share. For those of you keeping score at home, the current IBM share price is $143, so as you can imagine, Ginni has been pretty good at timing these sales over the years, with more than 100,000 shares sold around the top-tick of $200 for the stock back in 2012.

That leaves about 295,000 shares still in Rometty’s hands as of her last Form 4 filing, which have a current market value of $42 million.

So over the past fifteen years, Ginni Rometty has $84 million in realized stock gains and $42.4 million in unrealized gains, at a cost basis to her of $25.7 million.

That’s $100.7 million.

To be clear, THIS IS JUST THE OPENING BID. We still haven’t seen the 8-k filing from IBM where they will detail her going-away prize money. Just as with Muilenburg, there will be tens of millions in deferred this and long-term incentive that.

But don’t call it severance.


One day we will recognize the defining Zeitgeist of the Obama/Trump years for what it is: an unparalleled transfer of wealth to the managerial class.

It’s the triumph of the manager over the steward. The triumph of the manager over the entrepreneur. The triumph of the manager over the founder. The triumph of the manager over ALL.

But until that day … Yay, Capitalism!

PS. Here’s a fun fact. Did you know that Ginni Rometty was on the board of AIG from 2006 – 2009?

You really can’t make this stuff up. No one would believe you.


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6 months ago

AIG ? wow…….you really can’t make this stuff up……..

Andy Hooper
Andy Hooper
6 months ago

You’d like enjoy looking through the take on exactly how it went wrong at IBM over at https://www.platformonomics.com/2020/02/ibms-lost-decade/

6 months ago

Increasingly I start seeing the problem not in those who harness water from air but in those who come out dry from an ocean of public information to end up tsk-tsk’ing those hydrated. This is our blatant failure to reform DOJ functions as a pack.

Robert Baker
Robert Baker
5 months ago

Hi Ben, I’ve been reading through the ET Notes on the narrative of U.S. Politics and executive stock based compensation, and when I read that Ginni Rometty was on the AIG board I started wondering would it be possible to build a “narrative map” of a corporate executive and their overlapping relationships with other corporate boards using the QUID NLP software and SEC filings? With Ginni Rometty on the AIG board in 2006 – 2009, I wonder were there any AIG executives / directors on the IBM board at the same time? Or both on a third company’s board. When I’ve started this research myself I’ve found the challenge is finding the time (and fighting the tedium) to gather the information from the SEC website not the lack of public information itself and perhaps the software could solve this problem. And if this is possible the revolving door between companies and government would be another rich (and horrifying) aspect to analyze.

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