Boris Tsang/Sun Photography Editor

In a June 3 statement following an email to the Cornell Community promising to address racism, President Martha E. Pollack presented a list of initiatives that seek to target racism in the community.

January 27, 2019

President Martha Pollack to Serve on IBM Board

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Like many Cornellians, President Martha Pollack will be undertaking an extracurricular activity — starting next week, President Pollack will serve on the board of IBM, the technology company announced in mid-December.

Compensated directors who served the full year earned at least $300,000 in earned fees or cash in 2017, according to the IBM Proxy Report. The role involved nine overall board meetings and 16 committee meetings in 2017.

The IBM board appeared excited to invite the president onboard.

“Martha Pollack is a renowned AI researcher and technologist and an expert in AI. We are excited about adding her skills and expertise to the IBM board,” said Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer, in the company announcement.

The IBM press release touted Pollack’s pre-Cornell technological experiences, citing her work for SRI International, Inc. and the University of Pittsburgh’s Intelligent Systems Program.

“Her perspective on education and the use of technology to improve lives will be great assets to IBM and to our shareholders,” Rometty said.

Pollack joins one other individual on the board who hails from an institution of higher education, Shirley Ann Jackson, President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

The president characterized her involvement as valuable for both the University and IBM.

“It is important both for universities to have an awareness of the corporate world, where many of our students go on to work, and for those in the corporate world to have a better sense of what happens in universities,” Pollack said in a University press release.

Other similar institutions also have presidents wearing multiple hats. Yale University President sits on the advisory board of the Connecticut Folk Festival, according to his resume; Lee Bollinger, president of Columbia University, previously served on the Federal Reserve Bank of New York during his presidency.

According to the press release, Pollack noted the technology company’s founding in New York’s Southern Tier and its “commitment to diversity.”

Pollack’s work with IBM will commence Feb. 1.

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the timing of IBM’s announcement.