Rob Thomas

Senior Vice President, Software and Chief Commercial Officer

Rob Thomas is Senior Vice President Software and Chief Commercial Officer, IBM. He leads IBM’s software business, including product management and design, product development, and business development. In addition, Rob has global responsibility for IBM revenue and profit, including worldwide sales, strategic partnerships and ecosystem. 

In his over 20 years in IBM, Rob has held roles in IBM Consulting, IBM Microelectronics, and IBM Software, including two years living in Tokyo, Japan.  In 2007, Rob joined IBM’s software business, focused on data and analytics. He held a variety of roles including product engineering and business development, leading IBM’s transition from databases to delivering broader analytical capabilities, investing in open source, and eventually artificial intelligence. Rob has overseen numerous acquisitions by the firm, representing over $12 billion in transaction value.

In 2015, John Wiley & Sons published Rob’s first book, titled “Big Data Revolution: What farmers, doctors, and insurance agents can teach us about patterns in big data”. The Financial Times called the book, “interesting as a case study of the philosophical assumptions that underpin the growing obsession with data.” In December 2016, Rob published his second book, “The End of Tech Companies,” educating business leaders on how to navigate digital disruption. In April 2020, O’Reilly published Rob’s latest book, “The AI Ladder: Accelerate Your Journey to AI.” The book serves as a practical guide for business leaders to learn the steps necessary to successfully scale AI throughout their organization. Today, he writes extensively on his blog and publishes ‘The Mentor’ on Substack.

Rob graduated from Vanderbilt University and went on to earn a graduate degree at The University of Florida. Rob serves on the board of Domus (Stamford, CT), which assists underprivileged children in Fairfield County. He is an active volunteer at Filling in the Blanks, an organization focused on fighting childhood hunger in local communities. He lives in New Canaan, CT with his wife and three children.