Leaving IBM for a new adventure

So yesterday was my last day at IBM… Here’s the note I sent to my colleagues.

Subject: So long (for now)

Friends and Colleagues,

After thirteen challenging, rewarding, meaningful years, today is my last day at IBM. I am going to Bloomberg as the Global Head of Internal Communications.

I have worked on amazing projects and programs at IBM — building IBM Research’s digital communications system, launching Autonomic Computing (!), developing and facilitating the Jams, producing the Annual Report, introducing Smarter Planet, personalizing, socializing and democratizing our Intranet, growing our Alumni network, celebrating our Centennial, creating our digital strategy and our Social Media strategy and, last but certainly not least, launching the M&C Labs.

When I told a mentor that I was leaving, he said something that really stuck with me: you are starting to ask questions of yourself now that IBM cannot answer. I think the biggest one is, of course, can I do great things outside of IBM?

At Bloomberg I will be at the crossroads of financial services, media, technology and even politics — the very things that make New York City such an exciting place to live. The company has a very strong and unique culture (and concomitant zaniness too, no doubt) and it is going through an exciting moment — its founder’s return, a massive expansion of the employee population, expansion of the core terminals business into adjacent industries, the very exciting and deliberate expansion of the media and news business — that will make a compelling challenge for me as I build their Internal Communications capability. I aim to apply much of what I have learned from IBM to Bloomberg’s CEO’s quest for a more cohesive identity and narrative for Bloomberg employees.

So I am excited to test my mettle outside of IBM — and nervous too: IBM is like my home town and leaving is scary. Yet I feel very good about the work I’ve done with all of you and the network of relationships I have through IBM. Looking back at my time at IBM, the massively overwhelming feeling is that it has been time very, very meaningfully and well spent. And I have you, my fellow IBMers, to thank for this.

I am hopeful for IBM and all my IBM friends — the company is on the precipice of a set of changes that will be super interesting, challenging and mind-expanding. You can feel the engines revving up for a course-change. And I will be rooting for you to make it in grand style (and not just as a shareholder.)

Because I will always be an IBMer; I feel as though I have a tattoo on my heart in blue ink — it’s the eight bar logo, of course.

Cheers, Ethan


3 thoughts on “Leaving IBM for a new adventure

  1. I’d like to be the first to congratulate Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Doctoroff on their team’s new slugger. Nice acquisition, fellas!

  2. IBM and IBMers will miss you! I’m sure you will not need it, but I wish you good luck!

  3. Sad, but not surprised to see you go. I wish you well my friend in your new endeavor. All the best for the future.

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