- Palmisano was promoted to CEO in March 2002 and named chairman effective January 1, 2003, succeeding the retiring Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. after the Dot-com bubble bust. While his predecessor had saved the company from bankruptcy by downsizing the work force and cutting costs, and then leading IBM's resurgence with systems integration and services consulting (such as e-commerce), Palmisano's goal was to reestablish IBM as a standard-setting company. He was influenced by the Watsons, the company founders who "always defined I.B.M. as a company that did more than sell computers; they believed that it had an important role to play in solving societal challenges
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