FIR Interview: Jon Iwata, IBM – May 5, 2008

A recent white paper published by the Arthur W Page Society examines the evolving role of the senior communications executive in 21st century business.

The Authentic Enterprise: Relationships, Values and The Evolution of Corporate Communications (PDF) considers the rapidly-changing context for global business and society and the ability of organizations to manage successfully their relationships with customers, investors, partners, employees and other key audiences and stakeholders.

The report also includes the results of a survey the society conducted among the CEOs of 31 U.S. and international companies that have more than $2 billion in revenues, on those CEOs’ perceptions of how their own jobs are being reshaped.

In this FIR Interview, Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz joined in conversation with Jon Iwata, Senior Vice President Communications, IBM Corporation, and Chair of the Authentic Enterprise task force for Page, about the key findings in the white paper including the range of strategic business options for CEOs and communicators; the role of Page Turner, the society’s new blog designed to enable ongoing conversation and dialogue relating to the white paper; and changes in IBM Corporation that led to Jon’s new responsibility as head of an integrated global marketing and communications organization, announced to IBM employees on May 5.

About our Conversation Partner

Jon Iwata, IBM
Jon Iwata is responsible for worldwide communications for IBM. In May 2008 IBM announced the integration of its global marketing and communications organizations. Jon will become senior vice president, marketing and communications, effective July 1, 2008.

IBM communications manages the company’s relationships with the media, industry analysts and employees. It is responsible for corporate brand strategy and design, and the company’s global intranet, which serves 380,000 employees. The function coordinates IBM’s corporate affairs initiatives and plays a leading role in instilling IBM Values into the company’s practices and culture.

Jon is a member of the IBM Strategy Team, the IBM Performance Team, and the company’s Intellectual Property Policy and Open Standards Advisory Council. He reports to IBM Chairman and CEO Sam Palmisano.

He joined the communications function of IBM in 1984 at the company’s Almaden Research Center in Silicon Valley. In 1989, he came to IBM corporate headquarters in Armonk, New York, and held a variety of communications positions, including providing support for the president of the company. He was appointed vice president of corporate communications in 1995 and assumed his current responsibilities as senior vice president, communications, on January 1, 2002. He was named chairman of the IBM Global Marketing Board in April 2008.

Jon is a co-inventor of a U.S. patent for advanced semiconductor lithography technology.

From 2006-2007, he served as chairman of The Seminar, a professional group consisting of chief communications officers of major corporations and institutions. He is a trustee of the Arthur W. Page Society.

Jon holds a B.A. from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, San Jose State University.

Download the 44:16 conversation here (MP3, 17.7MB), or subscribe to the Interviews RSS feed to get it and future interviews automatically. For automatic synchronization with your iPod or other digital player, you’ll also need a podcatcher such as the free Juice, DopplerRadio or iTunes, or an RSS aggregator that supports podcasts such as FeedDemon.

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If you have comments or questions about this podcast, or suggestions for future interviews, email us at fircomments@gmail.com; or call the Comment Line at +1 206 222 2803 (North America) or +44 20 8133 9844 (Europe); or Skype: fircomments; or comment at Twitter: twitter.com/FIR; or at Jaiku: fir.jaiku.com. You can email your comments, questions and suggestions as MP3 file attachments, if you wish (max. 3 minutes / 5Mb attachment, please!). We’ll be happy to see how we can include your audio contribution in a show.

This FIR Interview is brought to you with Lawrence Ragan Communications, serving communicators worldwide for 35 years. Information: www.ragan.com.

Podsafe music – On A Podcast Instrumental Mix (MP3, 5Mb) by Cruisebox.

(Cross-posted from For Immediate Release, Shel’s and my podcast blog.)

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Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

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