Open letter offers support for some of Mr. Trump’s policies and advice on national issues—adding along the way that IBM is the largest technology employer in the U.S.

Rachael King
Nov. 16, 2016

International Business Machines Corp. CEO Ginni Rometty published an open letter to President-elect Donald Trump outlining her recommendations on health care, infrastructure spending and other issues.

The letter is her first comment on the prospect of a Trump administration since Mr. Trump, shortly before the election, criticized IBM and other companies for shifting U.S. jobs overseas.

The letter offers support for some of Mr. Trump’s policies and advice on national issues—adding along the way that IBM is the largest technology employer in the U.S. Last year IBM hired more U.S. employees than in the five years prior, the letter said, and it has thousands of open positions.

The Donald J. Trump for President organization didn't immediately reply to a request for comment.

Silicon Valley generally has viewed Mr. Trump’s victory as a blow to the tech industry, as the president-elect has been a critic of Apple Inc. and Inc. as well as IBM.

Among other technology executives, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos offered Mr. Trump congratulations in a message on Twitter, as did CEO Marc Benioff, while Microsoft Corp. CEO Satya Nadella posted a congratulatory message on LinkedIn, with a link to a longer blog post by the company’s president and chief legal officer.

Mr. Trump, in a Nov. 6 campaign speech in Minnesota, said IBM had laid off 500 workers in Minneapolis and moved their jobs to India and other countries. Mr. Trump also called out Ford for laying off 794 workers in St. Paul and MoneyGram for laying off 408 workers and moving those jobs overseas.

“If a company wants to leave Minnesota, fire their workers and move to another country, and then ship their products back into the United States…we will make them pay a 35% tax,” he said.

The letter offers support for another of Mr. Trump’s proposals, to end tax-code incentives for businesses to keep their overseas earnings out of the country. “Many billions of dollars of American companies’ earnings do not come home because of an outdated and punitive tax system,” Ms. Rometty wrote.

The change would “free up capital that companies of all sizes can reinvest in their U.S. operations, training and education programs for their employees, and research and development programs," the letter continues.

IBM in 2015 spent more than half its annual $5.4 billion annual research and development budget in the U.S.

IBM also supports Mr. Trump’s proposed investment in infrastructure such as roads, bridges, buildings and other public facilities, Ms. Rometty wrote, adding that the infrastructure’s performance would benefit by the inclusion of networked sensors and artificial intelligence, technologies that IBM offers.

Similarly, Ms. Rometty in her letter suggested reducing health-care costs through the use of information technology and data analytics. IBM said it operates one of the largest employer-sponsored health plans in the U.S. Health-care costs could be reduced by analyzing data to detect fraudulent Medicare claims, she wrote, citing a 2009 IBM position paper.

Ms. Rometty’s letter also called for giving veterans the best health care possible. IBM recently announced a pilot program to help Department of Veterans Affairs oncologists treat 10,000 veterans using genomic analysis powered by Watson, the company’s artificial-intelligence computing system.