As Marketing Gets More Important at IBM, It Names Its First Chief Marketing Officer

Michelle Peluso will help grow the brand

IBM has name Michelle Peluso to serve as its vp and chief marketing officer, a new title for the company. Peluso will report to Jon Iwata, svp of marketing and communications at IBM, and will begin in the new role on Oct. 3. 

"Marketing at IBM has been growing in importance over the past few years," said a spokeswoman. "We continue to build on that. … Our philosophy is that the future of business is digital today and cognitive [technology] tomorrow, and Michelle is in a good position to understand that and move the ball forward."

Added Iwata: "IBM marketing has transformed significantly to be at the forefront of the rapidly changing marketing profession and to support IBM's own transformation. Michelle Peluso is the ideal leader to accelerate and build on this effort." 

Previously, Iwata ran marketing at IBM, serving as de facto CMO for the company along with his other responsibilities. But as marketing has become more central to IBM's business model—it has several spots running for its Watson capabilities, for instance—the company decided to bring on Peluso.  

"[Iwata will] continue to ensure that IBM speaks with one voice and will lead integrated marketing communications and citizenship, engaging with all constituents that matter to IBM," said the spokeswoman. 

Peluso joins IBM from Technology Crossover Ventures, where she served as a venture partner. Before that, she was CEO of online shopping site Gilt. Peluso also previously served as a global consumer chief marketing and internet officer at Citigroup, where she was responsible for the company's rebrand after the 2008 financial crisis. And she has served as CEO of Travelocity and Site59, which she co-founded. 

"She has the experience that IBM needs to help with the next chapter of our transformation," said the spokeswoman. "She understands the digital space and how we're moving our business and our clients' business to cognitive [technologies]." 

Currently, Peluso serves on the board of directors for Nike, Technoserve and Tech:NYC.