First African American Woman to Command a U.S. Navy Ship Joins IBM Board of Directors


February 27, 2019


Photo:  David Yellen

On Tuesday, IBM (International Business Machines) announced Admiral Michelle J. Howard as the newest member of its board. Howard made history in 1999 when she became the first African American woman to command a U.S. Navy ship, and then again in 2014 when she became the first African American and the first woman to be named Vice Chief of Naval Operations. 


The former U.S. Navy officer graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1982. There, Howard blazed a trail as the first woman graduate to be promoted to flag officer. By 1998, she received a master’s degree in military arts and sciences from the United States Army’s Command and General Staff College. With retiring from a 35-year career in December 2017, Howard, also the first woman to become a four-star admiral, currently teaches cybersecurity and international policy at George Washington University. 

“Admiral Howard is a groundbreaking leader with a distinguished career in military service,” IBM CEO Ginni Rometty said in a statement in the release. “Her leadership skills, international perspective and extensive experience with cybersecurity and information technology will make her a great addition to the IBM Board.”

IBM’s board appointment of Howard is set to go in effect on March 1.  


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