May 1, 2024 - Business

Exclusive: IBM names Sarah Meron as chief communications officer amid reorg

Photo illustration of Sarah Meron surrounded by lines and abstract speech bubbles.

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Courtesy of IBM

IBM has elevated Sarah Meron to chief communications officer, Axios has learned.

  • She will report to Jonathan Adashek, IBM senior vice president of marketing and communications.

Why it matters: The promotion is part of a recent reorganization of the communications, marketing and impact team — which included the layoffs of a "single-digit percentage of IBM's global workforce," according to a spokesperson.

The big picture: This is the first sign of how AI could disrupt the work of communicators.

  • While Adashek said no jobs were lost to AI, the jobs themselves are changing, which is requiring more upskilling.
  • "We're looking at how we deploy AI across the work we're doing — but it's augmenting what people are doing, not replacing them," he added.

Yes, but: IBM CEO Arvind Krishna has previously said the tech giant expects AI to replace some 8,000 jobs.

Context: Adashek absorbed IBM's marketing function in 2022 and its impact team will continue to oversee the 2,000-person marketing, communications and impact team and report to Krishna.

  • As CCO, Meron will oversee AI, innovation and client solutions communications, analyst relations, CEO, corporate, policy and employee communications, issues management and social media.
  • Meron previously held communications roles at Gap Inc., Tesla, Yahoo and American Express. She joined IBM in 2020 as vice president of corporate affairs.

What they're saying: The marketing, comms and impact teams will remain integrated, but the hope is that this new structure will allow for a more streamlined, global operation, Adashek told Axios.

  • "Part of what we're doing is trying to make it an organization that is more closely tied to the business. … making sure we're closely aligned, and that we're not just telling but showing how our products and our services come to life for internal and external audiences."

Of note: IBM is currently searching for the open chief marketing officer role.

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