Alumna CEO Elected to National Academy of Engineering

IBM’s Virginia Rometty receives prestigious honor

Two high-profile Northwestern University alumnae -- Virginia M. Rometty, CEO of IBM, and Ellen J. Kullman, CEO of DuPont -- have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).

Rometty, a 1979 graduate of the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, and Kullman, a 1983 graduate of the Kellogg School of Management, are two of 67 new members and 12 foreign associates announced by the NAE today (Feb. 5).

Virginia Rometty

“Membership in the NAE is among the highest honors for both engineering researchers and leaders,” said Julio M. Ottino, dean of the McCormick School. “To have two alumnae leading some of the largest engineering corporations in the world speaks to Northwestern’s ability to educate leaders equipped to have substantial impact on their fields.”

“In today’s complex global marketplace, the most successful leaders possess deep analytical and leadership skills that enable them to drive growth in people, organizations and markets,” said Sally Blount, dean of Kellogg. “I’m thrilled to see these two great women recognized by the NAE.”

Election to the academy is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. The NAE acts as the federal government’s chief advisory agency on engineering and technology issues.

Rometty is cited for strategic applications of systems engineering and leadership in development of services science and its application to business processes.

She has worked at IBM for 33 years and was named president and CEO of the company in 2012. Previously, Rometty served as IBM’s senior vice president and group executive for sales, marketing and strategy, where she oversaw IBM’s business results in 170 global markets.

Kullman is cited for leadership in the business growth and transformation of a global science and engineering company.

She became DuPont’s CEO and chair of the board of directors in January 2009. Prior to that, Kullman served as president, executive vice president and a member of the company’s office of the chief executive. She began her career at DuPont in 1988 as a marketing manager for the DuPont medical imaging business. 

Both Rometty and Kullman are named on Forbes magazine’s “Top 100 Most Powerful Women” and Fortune magazine’s “Most Powerful Women in Business.”

Founded in 1964, the National Academy of Engineering is a private, independent, nonprofit institution that provides engineering leadership in service to the nation. It has more than 2,000 peer-elected members and foreign associates, senior professionals in business, academia and government, who are among the world’s most accomplished engineers.