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IBM Names Harriet P. Pearson as Chief Privacy Officer


ARMONK - 29 Nov 2000: - IBM today named Harriet P. Pearson as the company's first chief privacy officer. In her new role, Pearson will guide IBM's privacy policies and practices, lead initiatives across IBM that will strengthen consumer privacy protection and further the company's leadership efforts in these areas. Pearson will report to IBM Senior Vice President and General Counsel L. R. Ricciardi.

"We know that one of the great conundrums of e-business is that it gives enterprises a powerful new capability to capture and analyze massive amounts of customer information so they can serve individual customers more effectively," said IBM Chairman and CEO Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. "Yet this very capability troubles some people, who see it as a means to disclose or exploit their personal information. These are legitimate and very real concerns, and they must be addressed if the world of e-business is to reach its full potential.

"At its core, privacy is not a technology issue. It is a policy issue. And the policy framework that's needed here must involve the information technology industry, the private sector in general and public officials," continued Mr. Gerstner. "As our chief privacy officer, Harriet Pearson will represent IBM with all of these important communities and drive our own cross-company privacy initiatives."

In her new position, Pearson will unify on a global basis the many privacy projects and programs underway across IBM, including research and development, marketing, sales, IBM's Web strategy, and technology and policy efforts. She will coordinate the development of IBM technology and services offerings for privacy. As consumer privacy guidelines evolve, Pearson will ensure that IBM remains a leader in adopting best practices for IBM employees, customers and consumers, and ensure that the company continues to comply with applicable law and standards.

"Harriet has the unique mix of skills and experience a company like IBM must have to balance its corporate needs with those of its consumers," said privacy expert Professor Alan Westin, who is chairing a major privacy conference this week in Washington, D.C. "Her appointment underscores the company's continued commitment on this issue and is another step forward for a company that has been a leader in this field for many years."

Pearson brings more than 10 years of public policy, legal and technology experience to this new position. In addition to having directed IBM's involvement in several areas of public policy, including privacy, health care and consumer protection, she chairs the Privacy Committee of the Information Technology Industry Council, serves on the board of the Internet Education Foundation and on the BBBOnline Privacy Seal Program Steering Committee, as well as the Executive Committee of the CEO-level Privacy Leadership Initiative.

Prior to joining IBM in 1993, Pearson practiced law in Washington, D.C. and worked as an engineer with Shell Offshore, Inc. in Lousiana and Texas. Born and raised in New York City, she holds a law degree from UCLA and an engineering degree from Princeton. Pearson, 37, resides in Virginia with her husband and two children.

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Contact(s) information

Kendra R. Collins
IBM
212-745-6064
krcollin@us.ibm.com

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