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Buffett's IBM Buy Made Easier by Solid CEOs

Observers, however, are keen to see how the new CEO's leadership style will compare to that of her predecessor. Palmisano kept a relatively low profile during his time at the helm, preferring to focus on IBM's internal operations and its lucrative push into software and services.

People who know Rometty paint a picture of a polished performer more than capable of continuing IBM's success.

"She has great stage presence and is highly engaging with customers," explained Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Arbuckle professor at Harvard Business School, who has known the incoming CEO for about 12 years. "Ginni is a great champion of IBM's culture and values while also delivering superior financial performance."

"Ginni is very bright and analytical, good with people, results oriented and expects excellence from them," added Nelson Fraiman, a professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Business, who works with Rometty on one of the School's awards programs. "I have known her for the last 10 years or so -- she is a pleasure to deal with. "

IBM shares closed down 3 cents, or 0.02%, at $187.35 on Monday.

-- Written by James Rogers in New York

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