Mark Harris


Mark Harris recently completed a three-decade career in IBM Communications as vice president of Communications for IBM Global Business Services, the $17 billion unit that provides business consulting and applications management services to clients around the world.

In that role, Mark led executive support, analyst relations and communications to a workforce of more than 100,000 across 90 countries. He led the competitive positioning of IBM as a business advisor and provider of transformational business services with traditional media, analysts and via social platforms.

During a career that included direct support of current IBM CEO Ginni Rometty in the formative years of IBM’s business consulting business, Mark led the positioning and launch of IBM’s landmark partnership with Apple; the acquisitions of cloud provider Bluewolf and Resource Ammirati, the largest independent advertising agency in the United States. He launched the industry’s first consulting practices dedicated to Business Analytics and Cognitive Computing; played a leadership role in the development and articulation of the company’s public stance on global labor; and delivered IBM’s first Corporate Social Responsibility report.

Throughout the seminal years of IBM’s turnaround, Mark was a senior communications advisor to IBM Chairman and CEO Lou Gerstner, and Gerstner’s chief speechwriter from 1996 through his retirement in 2002. As an outgrowth of his work with Gerstner, Rometty and multiple other senior IBM leaders, Mark developed and delivers “Content Matters. You Matter More” — a high-impact program of personal presentation training for IBM consultants and executives.

Prior to joining IBM, Mark was with United Press International as a reporter in Birmingham, Ala., and as bureau chief in Columbia, S.C., covering politics, the courts, crime, civil rights, natural disasters, college and professional sports, and on one memorable evening in 1983, an electric chair execution.

He became a member of the Plank Center’s Board of Advisors in 2010. Mark holds BA and MA degrees in journalism from the University of Alabama.

More from Mark Harris:


Our Mission

The Plank Center’s mission is to help develop and recognize outstanding diverse public relations leaders, role models and mentors to advance ethical public relations in an evolving, global society. The Center works to achieve its mission by:

Advancing knowledge of leadership values and skills in the profession;

Supporting research, teaching, service, and professional educational efforts that help develop diverse, responsible and trustworthy leaders;

Bridging the interests and vision of the practice and education; and

Collaborating with other groups and associations to nurture the ethical and effective practice of public relations.