Jon Iwata, 2012 Executive Honoree

As former senior vice president and chief brand officer for IBM, Jon Iwata was responsible for stewardship of the IBM brand and for positioning IBM as a global agenda-setter – shaping the company’s dialogue with the world; engaging its stakeholders; and ensuring that its brand and culture continue to move to the future while remaining authentically IBM.

IBM’s brand is recognized as one of the most valuable in the world, a status that has been enhanced by the development of strategic brand platforms that express the company’s distinctive strategy, purpose and values. Iwata was the architect of several of these brand platforms, including e-business, Smarter Planet and Watson, and he led development of “The Authentic Enterprise,” a seminal report produced by the Arthur W. Page Society, which defined the inter-relationships among contemporary brand management, workforce engagement, and values-based leadership.

Iwata reported to Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and CEO. His team included communications and corporate citizenship. He was chairman of the IBM Values and Policy Advisory Board and vice chairman of the IBM International Foundation. He joined IBM in 1984 at the company’s Almaden Research Center in Silicon Valley, and was appointed senior vice president, communications, in 2002, and senior vice president, marketing and communications, in 2008. He assumed his current role in 2017 before retiring in 2018.

He is among the rare leaders who is recognized across the disciplines of marketing, communications, advertising and corporate citizenship—inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame, the CMO Club Hall of Fame and the Page Society Hall of Fame, which honors lifetime achievement in public relations and business communications. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from The Seminar, an organization of Chief Communications Officers.

Iwata is a trustee of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. He is a director of the Association of National Advertisers and an advisory board member for the Yale Center for Customer Insights.

In 2012, he received the “Milestones in Mentoring” Executive Award from The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations. This award recognizes an executive who makes mentoring part of their leadership strategy, encourages active mentoring at all levels of their organizations, and recognizes the critical role public relations professionals play in the organizations’ success.

He holds a B.A. from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at San Jose State University, and is co-inventor of a U.S. patent for advanced semiconductor lithography technology.


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