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


To receive a free full-text email of The Zeitgeist whenever we publish to the website, please sign up here. You’ll get two or three of these emails every week, and your email will not be shared with anyone. Ever.

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.


To receive a free full-text email of The Zeitgeist whenever we publish to the website, please sign up here. You'll get two or three of these emails every week, and your email will not be shared with anyone. Ever. It's our effort to spread the word about what we're doing, and allow you to read more Epsilon Theory!

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

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

Andy Hooper
1 year 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/

1 year 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
1 year 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.

The Daily Zeitgeist

Hot and Cold

By Rusty Guinn | March 23, 2021 | 24 Comments

Most of us are under the impression that a protracted conflict within China will increase national unity.

Not this time.

Read more

A Change in the Water

By Ben Hunt | March 3, 2021 | 3 Comments

Increasingly, the common knowledge of our investment world – what everyone knows that everyone knows – is that inflation is a problem and you should be focused on it.

Read more

Danish Food-Safety Expertise for the Win

By Ben Hunt | February 10, 2021 | 23 Comments

WHO leadership continues to be necessary part of the Chinese narrative machine.

It’s more than a disgrace. It’s more than a humiliation of the people who do good and important work through WHO.

It’s a betrayal of the entire world.

Read more

The Cartoon Put

By Rusty Guinn | September 1, 2020 | 13 Comments

Seeing cartoons made from data doesn’t give us license to ignore the underlying feature of the world being measured – it gives us a duty to cut through the abstractions obscuring that feature of the world.

Read more

Sacrifice for Thee, Vast Wealth for Me

By Ben Hunt | August 25, 2020 | 11 Comments

Doug Parker, American Airlines CEO and Chairman of the Board, wrote a letter to his employees today that pretty much defines high-functioning sociopathy.

I’m going to reprint excerpts from that letter – which is couched in the saccharine vocabulary of modern team-speak, but is in truth a shakedown letter to employees and a ransom note to the US government – and then I’m going to tell you a few things about Doug.

Read more

Carny Barkers

By Ben Hunt | August 13, 2020 | 18 Comments

In the age of capital markets as carny show, we are told by barkers like Cramer that this is what a smart investor or management team does … they should look to the grift du jour for their edge.

Read more


This commentary is being provided to you as general information only and should not be taken as investment advice. The opinions expressed in these materials represent the personal views of the author(s). It is not investment research or a research recommendation, as it does not constitute substantive research or analysis. Any action that you take as a result of information contained in this document is ultimately your responsibility. Epsilon Theory will not accept liability for any loss or damage, including without limitation to any loss of profit, which may arise directly or indirectly from use of or reliance on such information. Consult your investment advisor before making any investment decisions. It must be noted, that no one can accurately predict the future of the market with certainty or guarantee future investment performance. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

Statements in this communication are forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements and other views expressed herein are as of the date of this publication. Actual future results or occurrences may differ significantly from those anticipated in any forward-looking statements, and there is no guarantee that any predictions will come to pass. The views expressed herein are subject to change at any time, due to numerous market and other factors. Epsilon Theory disclaims any obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements or views expressed herein. This information is neither an offer to sell nor a solicitation of any offer to buy any securities. This commentary has been prepared without regard to the individual financial circumstances and objectives of persons who receive it. Epsilon Theory recommends that investors independently evaluate particular investments and strategies, and encourages investors to seek the advice of a financial advisor. The appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor’s individual circumstances and objectives.