Robert Thomas

Robert Thomas
Vice President, Information Management, IBM


Rob Thomas is vice president of business development in IBM’s Information Management Software division, where he leads business development for information management software, including IBM’s enterprise data management and information integration products, and is responsible for mergers and acquisitions, channel strategy and sales, and major ISV and SI partnerships. Recently, he led IBM’s acquisition of Netezza. Rob brings extensive experience in management, business development, and consulting in the high technology and financial services industries and has worked extensively with global businesses.

Previously, Rob worked within IBM’s engineering services and semiconductor business in Asia Pacific, where he was responsible for the $1B operation, which included custom product design and development, as well as manufacturing, and led a team with locations throughout Asia, including development centers in Japan, China, and India. In this capacity, Rob personally managed key engagements with Nintendo (microprocessor design for the Wii), Sony, Konica Minolta, Lenovo, CEC/Greatwall, Samsung, and other leading electronics companies. Rob started with IBM in IBM Global Business Services (GBS). As a partner in GBS, he led the sales and execution of a variety of consulting engagements, focused on strategy and change, operational improvement, and IT implementations to solve specific business issues. Prior to joining IBM, he was an equity research associate at Merrill Lynch and Wheat First Securities, developing a competence in how to value company operations and explore strategic alternatives for companies in a variety of industries. Rob has published articles in a variety of publications, including InfoWorld and Silicon Valley Business Ink, focused on issues and trends in the IT industry, the high technology business, and strategy. Rob is an avid golfer and runner; he lives in New Canaan, CT, with his wife and three children.


Location: Westside Ballroom Audience level:
Moderated by:
David Schwab (Sierra Ventures)
Paul Kedrosky (Kauffman Foundation), Todd Papaioannou (Battery Ventures), Robert Thomas (IBM), Clint Johnson (Alpine Data Labs)
Startups are in it to make money—whether by breaking even, being acquired, or finding some other exit. But for data-driven startups, turning bits into dollars can be a challenge. There are privacy issues, data ownership concerns, and questions about how to monetize the business. This panel of investors and entrepreneurs will look at strategies for generating money in data-driven startups. Read more.


  • Aster Data
  • EMC Greenplum
  • GE
  • Lexis Nexis
  • MarkLogic
  • Tableau Software
  • Cloudera
  • DataStax
  • Informatica
  • DataSift
  • Splunk
  • 1010data
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Connotate
  • Media-Science
  • Microsoft SQL Server

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