Who: Rick Martino
Company: IBM Corp.
Has Held Title For: 29 months
Previous Title: Vice president of national human-resources operations
Degrees: BS, American University; MBA, Cornell's Johnson Graduate School of Management
Last Year, IBM received 850,000 job applications and hired 35,000 people. Rick Martino wants to make sure that each new hire is a great hire. And that takes talent. Martino remembers when 90% of IBM's new hires came directly from college. Today more than half of IBM's new employees are professionals who have lots of firms vying for their services.
What does a VP of Talent do?
We want IBM to be people's employer of choice. That means we have to think about people who aren't working for IBM and to convince them to work here. But we also have to think about the people who already work here. On any given morning, they can choose to apply their talents elsewhere. We don't want them to leave.
How do you retain talented people?
By making sure that they have exciting work to do. Talented people want to feel a sense of accomplishment — a sense that they're really contributing.
What part of your job requires the most talent?
Thinking globally. We employ 300,000 people, half of whom work outside the United States. My challenge is to use global talent to create global solutions.
A version of this article appeared in the June 1999 issue of Fast Company magazine.