back to article The Big Blue Chopper video that IBM might want to keep quiet

Here is the short video that IBM didn’t want the world see: it shows CEO, president and chairman Ginni Rometty mounting a Big Blue chopper following a trip to the Hursley R&D labs in the UK. Youtube Video El Reg first reported last month the company overlord had boldly ignored the £75 travel restriction earlier imposed on …

  1. wolfetone Silver badge
    Trollface

    Stop stirring El Reg.

    You know as well as I do that's the bog standard helicopter he was using, not the leathery luxury one he's accustomed too.

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Alert

      Ginni's female

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      he was using

      Thank you for posting the news that SHE has undergone a sex change. However "Citation Needed".

      1. frank ly Silver badge

        "... the company overlord ..."

        Overlady, surely.

        1. PNGuinn
          Coat

          re: Overlady, surely

          ""... the company overlord ..."

          Overlady, surely."

          DON'T CALL HER SHIRLEY, or she'll be surly.

          Ok, I'm going. Thanks - tt's the damp blue one at the end of the rack.

          1. wolfetone Silver badge

            Re: re: Overlady, surely

            Well I do apologise for calling the fat cat a he when she's a she.

            1. stephanh Silver badge

              Re: re: Overlady, surely

              CEO's are not like ordinary people. Outmoded concepts such as "gender" may no longer apply to them. Certainly concepts such as "travel budget" don't.

              1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

                Re: re: Overlady, surely

                "Outmoded concepts such as "gender" may no longer apply to them."

                Oh my various Gods. I think you may be on to spmething here. What if they are pod people, sent here to take over the planet? We need a tinfoil icon.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Limo

    It seems to have slipped everyone that a Limo was used to travel 1/4 mile. Surely an umbrella would have been enough for such a short journey? With the IBM logo of course.

    1. Joseph Haig

      Re: Limo

      I was thinking the same. The gardener is going to go ballistic (unless he has been laid off to save money).

      1. Your alien overlord - fear me

        Re: Limo

        they employ the copter pilot nowadays to be the daisy cutter !!!

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: Limo

          > they employ the copter pilot nowadays to be the daisy cutter !!!

          How do you transform a copter pilot into Fuel-Air Explosive?

          1. hplasm Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: Limo

            "How do you transform a copter pilot into Fuel-Air Explosive?"

            SAM?

            1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

              Re: Limo

              Either on, or close to, the ground an RPG would do equally well and save some cash for other worthy targets in the future. Cost cutting don'tcha know.

              1. E 2

                Re: Limo

                But you can get neither an RPG nor a SAM for under $75.00, so you'd never be able to expense it at IBM.

                1. stephanh Silver badge

                  Re: Limo

                  @E 2

                  I assume that you are referring to RPG as available on the IBM i? I would assume that this being IBM's own technology, they could get themselves a license for under $75,-.

                  1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. PNGuinn
        Trollface

        Re: Limo

        She was lucky. That ground looks rather soft and muddy.

        Ok, it was much earlier in the year, but when I was courting and we visited the Marquis of Tavistock's humble estate I took a wrong turn, found myself on the IN roadlet instead of the OUT and tried to do a wide U turn on the grass. I got to less than 10 feet from the road and stuck fast up to the wheel rims in clay. Only then did I notice that I had been one of many ...

        They had to get an ancient retainer and an even more ancient tractor to pull me out.

        Happy days.

        Would have been funny to watch the fun if they had had to search for an ancient retainer in shiny blue armour to carry her to the chopper, only to find that he'd been cost cropped the week before.

        That guy in the high viz jacket was brave. (Why wasn't it a high viz dayglo BLUE jacket??)

        He looked awfully near those blades. That egg wish only needed to move a little way forward and tip slightly and it could have been messy.

        "That'll teach him to be improperly dressed. And it'll save the cost of another redundancy."

        "Hey - we could dispose of him and the roll of carpet at the same time to save more dosh. It'll be a bit damp - couldn't possibly use it again after all."

      3. Marketing Hack Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Limo

        @joseph haig

        That's how Ginni cost-justified the helicopter. If they use the lawn as a landing pad enough times, the grass will get killed and you can lay off that expensive gardener! KA-CHING!!

        (I hear the distant sound of my personal helicopter with its luxurious leather appointments and am off to my Crans-Montana mountain chalet with its private ski lift.)

        1. kmac499

          Re: Limo

          Terrible choice of vehicle, the S class is a notoriously poor off roader, should've used a G Wagen.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Limo

            > the S class is a notoriously poor off roader

            Don't be so sure.

            Still, the whole scene is rather pathetic: S-class, carpet, chopper, and bloke with umbrella for the five metres from the car to the bird. This is not America in the 50s. We now have a word for it: douchebaggery.

            Besides, it would have been excusable for the company owner to do that, not for the CEO who at the end of the day is just another employee.

    2. Denis Frank

      Re: Limo

      It's not a 1/4 mile if you know your way around - but then you might miss out on the New Carpet and the Working Toilets.

      1. Eltonga
        Trollface

        Re: Limo

        It's not a 1/4 mile if you know your way around - but then you might miss out on the New Carpet and the Working Toilets.

        Whaaaaat??? Working toilets??? Obviously the company keeps wasting the shareholders' money in unneeded (and probably undeserved) luxuries for the employees.

        Look at those beautiful bushes all around the field... they look like they could do with some natural nitrogen and urea rich nutrients.

    3. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Limo

      More concerned about the twat who thought it a good idea to situate a cricket pitch on the side of a hill.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We saw the decorators in beforehand too... touching only the carpets/walls that were to be graced by Ginni's presence.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Off topic

    I love the way the rotors appear to be barely going round!

  5. Harry the Bastard

    blue carpet too

    to ensure the hallowed shoes were not besmirched by the dirty ground

    had there been no carpet, i have no doubt employees would've been called upon to lay down their garb, or indeed themselves, in this cause

  6. rotmos

    I am disappointed, the limo is a wimpy Mercedes and not a Rolls-Royce?!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Royalty

      Surely it is only royalty that get their own helicopters and Mercs.

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Well, given that these days a Rolls-Royce Motorcar* is technically a BMW...

      * Yes, it's "Rolls-Royce Motorcar". And they have Owners, not owners. Tradition.

  7. nuked
    Holmes

    errr

    If IBM already owns the asset, then using it would be cheapest option.

    Also suggesting that a CEO should limit his/her schedule by the same measures simply because it might make other employees feel better, is lefty nonsense.

    Just sayin.

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: errr

      'If IBM already owns the asset, then using it would be cheapest option.'

      They do not, if you Google the registration it's being chartered from Starspeed aviation. Plus that may not be true even if they owned the helicopter, a train ticket from London would still be cheaper and she could have worked on the way to and from the visit.

      'Also suggesting that a CEO should limit his/her schedule by the same measures simply because it might make other employees feel better, is lefty nonsense.'

      Possibly lefty nonsense, but it depends if you're trying to engender a sense of loyalty in your employees or just see them as easily replaceable serfs.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: errr

        Perhaps Starspeed have signed a contract for support by IBM?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: errr

      But it's ok that the CEO misses her revenue target for 20 quarters and gets huge bonuses while firing workers on a whim? (Of course remembering that she trashed the bonuses for employees as well).

      Or imposes severe travel restrictions on the workers who are serving the customers (who already paid for the service) while travelling in the lap of luxury?

      Or telling people to uproot their families and move across countries to relocate while she stays where she is?

      Yeah, just lefty nonsense.

      The best managers I have seen actually make meaningful sacrifices themselves. Funny how Ginny doesn't make my list of "best managers".

      Care to point at *any* meaningful sacrifice made by her?

      1. Shady

        Re: errr

        "Care to point at *any* meaningful sacrifice made by her?"

        She appears to have sacrificed her reputation in pursuit of a payday.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: errr

          > She appears to have sacrificed her reputation in pursuit of a payday.

          Not really. Something that doesn't exist can't be sacrificed.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: errr

        Her bonus ?

    3. Steve Todd

      Re: errr

      @nuked have you even the slightest idea what it costs per hour to fly a helicopter, on top of the cost of buying it that is. You'd be able to afford the return train ticket out of just the cost of the jet fuel, and have change left over.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: errr

        > the slightest idea what it costs per hour to fly a helicopter,

        That one, £600 - £1200, depending on various factors. That is just the operating cost, not counting amortisation and so.

        I don't know how much is the train to London, but you can ride the Transiberian for less than that.

    4. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: errr

      simply because it might make other employees feel better

      Ever heard about morale and what is the effect on it when the army commander is eating with the troops from the same field kitchen? Versus army commander having a lobster and foie grass in a private tent?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: errr

        "Versus army commander having a lobster and foie grass in a private tent?"

        for some reason, what popped into my head on reading that was "A tiger? in Africa?"

    5. Stork Bronze badge

      Re: errr

      No, it may not be efficient; it is called leading from the front.

      As my experience of IBM was management by beancounting I am not surpriced.

  8. Bloodbeastterror

    When you get to be CEO it's "Do as I say, not what I do", innit...

  9. Scam3r

    Dilussions of grandure....

    All that I can see from this video, is that IBM were making a concerted effort to be more friendly to the environment. By allowing this old bird to keep her road miles low, before reaching (super)market.

    Don't forget Hursley is part of the USA arm of IBM. So in IBM's eyes, she was still on American soil.

    1. Joseph Haig

      Re: Dilussions of grandure....

      Don't forget Hursley is part of the USA arm of IBM. So in IBM's eyes, she was still on American soil.

      Hence the cricket pitch?

      1. anonCoward24

        Re: Dilussions of grandure....

        We have cricket pitches on American soil for the benefit of our H1b visa employees...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dilussions of grandure....

      So in IBM's eyes, she was still on American soil.

      I remember, while working at a UK company that IBM had just captured acquired, an IBM-droid talking without any apparent sense of irony about "UK dollars".

      1. Grunt #1

        Re: Dilussions of grandure....

        You forgot Blue Dollars.

        Actually quite a useful terminology as it helped me understand when we were keeping things in-house.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Dilussions of grandure....

          I remember Blue Dollars. We thought it was a joke at first. You could say that for a number of things we heard about. (Is that great social network "IBM Connections" still going?)

    3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: Dilussions of grandure....

      "So in IBM's eyes, she was still on American soil."

      Well, you know. "Special relationship" and all that ...

  10. Franzmann

    Ginny is a great ......

    ..... negotiator. She get's a Heli ride plus Limousine for 75 Pounds. She certainly respect her own rules. Don't you think so?

  11. Bloodbeastterror

    Old technology

    She's obviously cost-cutting - non-UK people may not have spotted that that rusty pile of German engineering is three years old.

    The shame, the shame...

  12. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    I have to admit

    I'm rather sad about my experience with the entity currently known as IBM.

    I've had two relatives and several friends who have worked for the Goliath. The relatives back in the late 60's and early 70's (when I were a lad) and the most notably my adopted in-laws (a rather long story) in the 80's and 90's.

    From tales I've listened to, it was a fabulous place to work back in the 70's, so long as you didn't mind the uniform or the socio-religious expectations. The fact that you could jump into anything you were interested in (if you were in the white plains location) so long as you could contribute good things made it something comparable to some of the modern day startups. At the end of the 70's and the early 80's it was a giant well oiled, precise machine that got enormous things done.

    Sadly I don't think the mentalities that made *either* of those environments or situations *can* exist in current, modern day business.

    I got to watch Gini speak. I don't think that she's an evil creature, and I'm very certain she's not ill equipped in the cognitive process department. Sadly, I seriously doubt that publicly traded commercial businesses will any longer be run with the perspective of doing it right, doing something truly new or making the "team" work. Only the VC's will allow someone to reach out over the edge to do that, and sadly, they sure as hell aren't going to let the entity that does that run for more than 5 or 6 years before they turn that investment into an IPO so that they can get their payday.

    Since *everything* is about the *payday* -- > VCs to IPO and C suite exit stock prices, there will be little attention to the details that make something work spectacularly well and last for more than say 12 or 16 quarters. Gini is doing the job she was hired for, with the mandate that the board gave her. Individual employees have no value to the stock price, and that effectively tells you where this company goes from here.

    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

      Re: I have to admit

      Since *everything* is about the *payday* -- > VCs to IPO and C suite exit stock prices, there will be little attention to the details that make something work spectacularly well and last for more than say 12 or 16 quarters. Gini is doing the job she was hired for, with the mandate that the board gave her. Individual employees have no value to the stock price, and that effectively tells you where this company goes from here.

      And this goes a long way towards explaining why the US has the President we do right now.

      It's all about living for the moment...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't understand the outrage...

    Do people REALLY think that CEOs, C-level people and Board Members travel economy/coach?

    At the top there are a LOT of jealously-guarded perks, and the use of chauffeur-driven cars, helicopters and corporate jets are amongst these perks. Different industry but remember the near-bankrupt US auto makers in 2010 heading to Washington to ask for Government money - they went by corporate jet.

    Is it right? No, it isn't, but it is a rare CEO or Board Member who will share the pain in fiscally-pressured times. Perhaps they should, but it is unlikely to ever happen.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I don't understand the outrage...

      There is a chauffer-driven car on permanent standby outside the IBM South Bank office all day just in case David Stokes needs to nip down the road for something. But this is understandable because London has so few public transport options and a terrible shortage of taxis.

    2. stephanh Silver badge

      Re: I don't understand the outrage...

      For reference, here is how the Dutch royals often travel to official events.

      http://www.jongerenwebsite.net/reserve/dafverzamelaar/u4/daf%20bus/daf%20sb%20220%20koninklijke%20bus%201.jpg

      Of course, a lowly king probably shouldn't be compared to the CEO of IBM.

      Stephan

    3. Steve Knox
      Facepalm

      Re: I don't understand the outrage...

      Do people REALLY think that CEOs, C-level people and Board Members travel economy/coach?

      No. That's not the point.

      At the top there are a LOT of jealously-guarded perks, and the use of chauffeur-driven cars, helicopters and corporate jets are amongst these perks. Different industry but remember the near-bankrupt US auto makers in 2010 heading to Washington to ask for Government money - they went by corporate jet.

      Thanks for stating the blatantly obvious.

      Is it right? No, it isn't, but it is a rare CEO or Board Member who will share the pain in fiscally-pressured times. Perhaps they should, but it is unlikely to ever happen.

      If you can say that it is unlikely for a human being to do what should be done, and not understand why that fact should cause outrage, you are beyond numb.

  14. Nash

    I'm no pilot...

    ...but why did the helicopter take off and perform an almost 270' degree left turn when he could have just turned 90 degrees right and still headed off in the same direction?....waste of fuel if you ask me.

    1. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

      Re: I'm no pilot...

      so the adoring crowd could kowtow?

    2. not.known@this.address Bronze badge

      Re: I'm no pilot...

      It's a lot easier to turn with the main rotor than against it; going the 'wrong way' puts more strain on the tail rotor transmission, uses more fuel and can make a LOT more noise - though that's not so much an issue with the Fenestron tailed cabs - while going with the main rotor lets torque do the work at a slight loss of lift, hence the way they get slightly lower as they turn.

      It also allowed the pilot to make sure he was clear of the nearby trees and anyone who might wander a bit too close - you can never be too careful when your life depends on a million tiny mechanical bits and pieces suspended from an 'ignorant drainpipe' and getting too close to the local triffids can be a quick way to convert a fast and reliable means of transport into a very expensive bonfire, and the number of people who do not understand "keep clear of the moving blades" is rather depressing... (Yes, I know the pilot would have seen where the trees were when he landed but it never hurts to check!)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm no pilot...

        > a fast and reliable means of transport

        Ok for the Merc, but I thought he was asking about the helicopter.

    3. Nolveys Silver badge

      Re: I'm no pilot...

      ...but why did the helicopter take off and perform an almost 270' degree left turn when he could have just turned 90 degrees right and still headed off in the same direction?

      They had a tank of urine on board to dump on the crowd of employees, the sweeping turn dispersed it better.

  15. hellwig Silver badge

    Executive Level...

    El Reg first reported last month the company overlord had boldly ignored the £75 travel restriction earlier imposed on staff that forced them to seek executive level approval on any customer site visits costing more.

    Um, as the Chief Executive, can't she approve her own travel?

    Reminds me of when automotive execs flew to D.C. on private jets to beg congress for money. If I recall, they had the good sense to carpool in a hybrid car for their next visit.

    Couldn't she have arrived in one of those "lorrys" UK folks are always going on about? That's some kind of blimp, right?

  16. PhilipN Silver badge

    Fuel saving

    Did the pilot choose to save fuel by starting up only when the passengers were on board?

    Or was it so swirling rotor blades did not damage Ginni's statuesque coiffure as she boarded?

    1. not.known@this.address Bronze badge

      Re: Fuel saving

      PhilipN asked "Did the pilot choose to save fuel by starting up only when the passengers were on board?"

      Probably not fuel saving - self-loading cargo has the unhealthy tendency to ignore the warning signs saying "Do not walk into the rapidly whirling planks of death" and make rather a mess.

      It may also have been a way to cut down the chance of loose articles of clothing or bits of paperwork - or wigs - getting blown into something vital...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Happily Tweeted with a notation recommended that everyone retweet this. Let the world know. Can't hide anything on the web. Once it's tweeted, it never goes away. >:-)

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is that a casevac ?

    I assume the chopper is called Big Blue.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    CEO window dressing

    Nothing new.

    They say one thing and do the opposite, routinely.

    Most are just closet psychopaths.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: CEO window dressing

      about your use of the word "closet" ....

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Work from home

    Surely a teleconference from Rometty Mansions would be better.

  21. mc nobby

    I suppose if IBM actually went back to making things and software that people wanted. Then they might be able to make some dosh and be able to afford more than 75 quid for travel without having to go groveling to the black nights of accounting.

    in my day, IBM used to make everything from desktops, to thin clients to operating systems to silicon and hard disks.

    Now they make......ur..Mainframes and super computers (huge market for that)

    and um, er . oh yeah they make governments annoyed when they sell them huge mainframe systems that don't work, like the ATO

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hypocritical old hag

    If this is what you get for letting women into the C-Suite, then bring back the glass ceiling.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BA

    Maybe she heard about the BA incident and decided she would show them how to run a DC. ;-)

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