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Senior Vice President of IBM Systems and Technology Group and 2011 Black Enterprise Corporate Executive of the Year, Rodney Adkins (Photo by Rayon Richards)

This type of visionary thinking has earned the veteran stripes as one of Black Enterprise’s Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America. His achievements and management prowess has placed him among the leading candidates to replace retiring IBM CEO Samuel J. Palmisano. For his leadership role in bolstering business performance and driving innovation of one of the world’s largest and most profitable information technology corporations, Adkins has been selected as the 2011 Black Enterprise Corporate Executive of the Year.

The Driven Innovator
The fight for market share has been fierce as the $100 billion company with operations in 170 countries has squared off against a bevy of tough competitors such as EMC Corp., Oracle, HP, Microsoft, Accenture, and Cisco. The serious, focused Adkins appears to exhibit the drive to take them on: In his 30-year tenure with the company, he’s never taken a full week off.  (He recently decided to take a 10-day excursion next month to go on safari in Tanzania and tour the Taj Mahal in India to celebrate his wife’s 50th birthday.) His relentlessness enabled STG to post revenues of $4.7 billion for the second quarter, up an impressive 17% from the same period last year.

STG officials maintain that IBM develops an array of power systems software and hardware that help customers build IT infrastructures to become “on-demand” organizations that are flexible, scalable, and energy efficient. For instance, Tata Motors, India’s largest auto manufacturer with $7.95 billion in revenues, needed IBM to create a storage system to help protect data compiled through its CRM, or customer relationship management, system. Another customer, Hutchison Telecom, which provides mobile services throughout Asia, was impressed by IBM’s customer-focused approach to installing eServers at the core of its tech infrastructure without any service downtime.