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IBM memo to staff: Our CEO Ginni is visiting so please 'act normally!'

Leaked missive insists 'no selfies, no bathroom run-ins or elevator pitches' with Rometty

Marketing folk in IBM's offices in Austin, Texas, were treated to a visit by CEO Ginni Rometty this week – but not before they were handed a list of things not to do in her presence, including taking selfies or using the loo at the same time.

Rometty, also Big Blue's president and chairman as well as chief exec, dropped by the campus on June 25 and 26, during which chief marketing officer Michelle Peluso intended to share her department's "marketing vision."

In advance of this, an internal email circulated by Laurie Parko, veep of IBM America's marketing services centre, on June 14 – which has just reached Vulture Towers – indicated the sort of behaviour expected of Big Blue staffers during the visitation.

Parko listed "action items and expectations for the event", and kicked off with what not to do when entering Rometty's orbit.

"Do not interact with Ginni or the group unless they approach you first. This means no selfies, no bathroom run-ins, elevator pitches, or water fountain soirees. If you happen to be in the same area, keep it professional and courteous," the email stated.

El Reg wondered if there was a contingency plan was for any hapless staffers caught in the middle of a robust bio-break when Rometty needed to spend a penny or two.

Parko's email continued: "Act normally! Ginni and the team are here to see what Austin is really like. This means you should wear what you always wear – jeans, sport coat, polo, whatever floats your boat. Just leave the PJs at home, please!" Obviously, we understand that the last bit was a joke, we think.

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The Big Blue Chopper video that IBM might want to keep quiet


On matters of staff attendance, Parko said IBM wanted to ensure it had a full house, the maximum number of bums on seats.

"We expect 100% occupancy during the visit," she said. "If you sit in Building 906, 5th floor and will not be here due to vacation or work travel, please inform [the relevant manager]... so we can fill your seat while the guests are in town."

Another important aspect that IBM highlighted in capped letters was to "CLEAN UP YOUR AREA". The cleaning staff planned a "deep clean", however, IBMers were "responsible for keeping your desk and area tidy" Parko added.

"Get rid of any and all junk. This means boxes, posters, old branding items, etc." This needed to be done by June 20, well ahead of the state visit.

The fifth floor was "completely off-limits" from June 21 to 27, with several conference rooms set to host the visit. "Do not enter these rooms even if it appears no one is in there or it is not being used," the email added.

"Should you need private meeting spaces, utilize the 4th floor. DO NOT TOUCH any items or objects you might see around the space, including signage, TVs, chairs, and tables."

Parko concluded by thanking staff for their support in "making sure Ginni and her guests [are] welcome in our space. We are a fun and vibrant team of marketeers and I know that will shine through in all that we do during their visit."

She signed off by saying: "I look forward to seeing our space in tip-top shape."

The Register asked IBM to comment on the email, and it declined to do so. ®

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