Compiled By Jill Jusko The IBM Corp. board of directors has elected Samuel J. Palmisano CEO of the Armonk, N.Y., company effective March 1, 2002. The 50-year-old Palmisano, who currently is IBM's president and COO, succeeds Louis V. Gerstner Jr., who will remain IBM chairman through the end of 2002. Palmisano has been president and COO of IBM since September 2000 after holding leadership positions in many of IBM's operating units. He will remain president. With this change in leadership, Gerstner, 59, will depart a role he has held since April 1993, when he joined IBM as chairman and CEO. In a 1999 interview he said his fondest wish upon joining the company was to return it to its former leadership position, and in fact Gerstner is widely credited with resurrecting IBM's fortunes. "I feel very fortunate to succeed Lou Gerstner as CEO. Against all odds, he led IBM back from its darkest days," says Palmisano. "He will leave a significant legacy." In other news, John M. Thompson, IBM vice chairman, will retire from the company and board on Sept. 1, 2002.