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IBM’s Palmisano Paid $31.8 Million for His Last Year as CEO

International Business Machines Corp. paid Sam Palmisano $31.8 million in 2011, his last year as chief executive officer before he was succeeded by Virginia “Ginni” Rometty in January.

Palmisano’s pay is little changed from the $31.7 million he earned in 2010, according to a regulatory filing today. Annual compensation includes salary, bonus, stock awards and options. Rometty earned $8.34 million last year, when she was head of sales and marketing, up from $6.4 million in 2010.

Palmisano, 60, boosted earnings during his tenure by focusing on software and services and selling off assets including the company’s personal-computer business. He was Armonk, New York-based IBM’s longest-serving CEO who doesn’t share the surname of the company’s founder, Thomas J. Watson. Palmisano remains IBM’s chairman.

Rometty, 54, became the first female CEO in the company’s 100-year history when she succeeded Palmisano, inheriting a five-year plan that includes boosting software to half of IBM’s earnings, with a focus on programs that help businesses analyze and project trends, as well as on cloud computing and emerging growth markets.

The world’s largest computer-services provider is “well on track” to its goal of generating at least $20 a share in operating earnings by 2015, up from $13.44 last year, Rometty reiterated in the 2011 annual report published over the weekend.

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