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CTA Names IBM’s Ginni Rometty CES 2019 Kickoff Speaker After Backlash Over Lack of Women Keynoters

Ginni Rometty - IBM
ETIENNE LAURENT/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

The Consumer Technology Association’s CES 2019 next January — for the first time in three years — will feature a female keynote speaker.

The CTA announced Wednesday that Ginni Rometty, IBM’s chairman, president and CEO, will kick off the annual consumer-tech conference in Las Vegas in an address on Jan. 8, 2019. Rometty previously delivered a keynote at CES 2016, the last time the trade show featured female keynoters.

Rometty’s selection comes after a backlash against the CTA’s all-male keynote lineup for CES 2018, coming after no women were featured the previous year, either. Among the responses, Twitter organized an event with all women speakers at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on Jan. 10, 2018, promoted under the hashtag #HereWeAre, which was the brainchild of chief marketing officer Leslie Berland.

In her CES keynote, Rometty is expected to talk about how technology will improve how businesses operate and people work and live. Specifically, she’ll discuss Big Blue technologies such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing, according to the CTA. She’s scheduled to speak at 8:30 a.m. PT on Tuesday, Jan. 8, at the Venetian’s Palazzo Ballroom.

“Ginni and her IBM colleagues represent some of the very best minds in technology today, and we look forward to kicking off CES with a deeper look into her vision for a world elevated by improved connectivity, more robust data analysis and more capable artificial intelligence,” CTA president and CEO Gary Shapiro said in a statement.

CES 2019 is scheduled to run Jan 8-11, 2019, as the Las Vegas Convention Center and other Sin City venues. The exhibit halls will be organized in 24 product categories, including 5G connectivity, AI, augmented and virtual reality, smart homes, and sports.