Robert Thomas

Robert Thomas
Vice President, Information Management, IBM Software Group


Rob Thomas is Vice President of Business Development in IBM’s Information Management Software Division. He is based in Somers, NY, and brings extensive experience in management, business development, and consulting in the high technology and financial services industries. He has worked extensively with global businesses and his background includes experience in business and operational strategy, high technology development and engineering, manufacturing operations, and product design and development consulting.

In his current role, Mr. Thomas leads business development for Information Management software, which includes IBM’s enterprise data management and information integration products. He is responsible for mergers & acquisitions, channel strategy and sales, and major ISV and SI partnerships. Recently, Mr. Thomas led IBM’s acquisition of Netezza, the leader in data warehousing and analytical appliances.

Prior to his current role, Mr. Thomas had general management responsibilities for IBM’s engineering services and semiconductor business in Asia Pacific. Based in Tokyo, Japan, he was responsible for this $1B operation, which included custom product design and development, as well as manufacturing. He led a team with locations throughout Asia, including development centers in Japan, China, and India. Mr. Thomas personally managed key engagements with Nintendo (microprocessor design for the Wii), Sony, Konica Minolta, Lenovo, CEC/Greatwall, Samsung, and other leading electronics companies.

Mr. Thomas started with IBM in IBM Global Business Services (GBS). As a Partner in GBS, Mr. Thomas 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, Mr. Thomas 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.

Mr. Thomas has published articles in a variety of publications, including InfoWorld and Silicon Valley Business Ink. His writings are focused on issues and trends in the IT industry, as well as high technology business and strategy. Mr. Thomas is an avid golfer and runner. He lives in New Canaan, CT with his wife and three children.


Location: Westside Ballroom
Moderated by:
David Schwab (Sierra Ventures)
Paul Kedrosky (Kauffman Foundation), Todd Papaioannou (Battery Ventures), Robert Thomas (IBM Software Group), 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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