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IBM's Virginia Rometty Argues That Transformation Takes Time

"Transforming a $90 billion business takes some time," Rometty said in remarks Tuesday.

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Fresh off a disappointing earnings report, IBM Chief Executive Virginia Rometty argued for patience — saying she can’t turn around such a massive company overnight.

“Transforming a $90 billion business takes some time,” Rometty said in remarks Tuesday at the Wall Street Journal’s WSJDLive conference at The Montage in Laguna Beach, Calif. “We’re going to continue that course because the strategy is right. That’s how you reinvent yourself when you’re this age.”

Rometty rejected the suggestion that Wall Street might be growing impatient with the pace of change, given that the 104-year-old company reported lower quarterly revenue for the 14th straight quarter.

“I run this company for the long term,” Rometty said. “It’s about building a company that is sturdy and moves to higher value.”

The embattled executive pointed to some of the company’s investments in new areas, such as cognitive technology — or, more colloquially, machines that learn. She said she sees great potential in areas such as medical diagnostics, where intelligent machines could aid in spotting tumors.

“It will be an era of man and machine being better,” Rometty said.

Asked about a possible acquisition of The Weather Channel, a deal first reported by Re/code, Rometty said IBM has made several deals that enhance its businesses in cloud computing or analytics.

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