May 19, 2020

Amazon backs out of New York HQ2 deal

Amazon
New York
Jeff Bezos
HQ2
hotmaillogin
3 min
Amazon backs out of New York HQ2 deal

On Thursday, online retail giant Amazon announced the cancellation of its plans to build its second headquarters in Long Island City, a neighborhood of Queens, New York, according to a report by the New York Times. Announced in November 2018, the company’s ‘HQ2’ campus would, the company claims, have brought 25,000 jobs to the Long Island City area and, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio hoped, diversified the city’s economy, paving the way for an influx of high-skill, high-paying tech jobs.

Amazon, which would have received US$3bn in tax incentives from the New York Government, pulled out of the deal after experiencing ‘unexpected backlash’ from Long Island City politicians and local residents which, according to the New York Times, was made “late [on] Wednesday, after growing increasingly concerned that the backlash in New York showed no sign of abating and was tarnishing its image beyond the city.”

“A number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward,” Amazon said in a statement.

Critics of the New York HQ2 have objected to the use of public subsidies to fund the expansion of a large technology company. Some have pointed to the rising tide of gentrification that follows the arrival of tech giants’ headquarters - Seattle’s current housing crisis being a prime example of an extreme case. Thirdly, as Ron Kim, a member of the New York State Assembly, and Zephyr Teachout, a law professor at Fordham University point out, New York “ thrives on the energy of its neighborhood merchants,” and Amazon is “known for squashing small businesses.”

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Still, some have decried the resistance, claiming that the economic stimulus provided by large numbers of tech jobs (which match well with the fact New York has the largest tech labor pool in the US) is necessary for the city’s future growth and survival. Kenneth T. Jackson, professor of history at Columbia University, wrote on Wednesday that, although “it is absurd that any city would agree to such a deal, this is how the game is played. Paying companies to relocate has been the American way since 1936, when Mississippi established the nation’s first state-sponsored economic development plan.” He goes on to write that, in its historical context, the Amazon deal will benefit New York state in the long term.

Amazon still plans to go ahead with the construction of its other HQ2 location in Arlington, Virginia. It is not yet clear whether the HQ2 will be consolidated in the Arlington campus, or if Amazon will reopen its call for proposals from other American cities. Currently, Chicago’ Mayor Rahm Emanuel and  Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois have been the first to reach out publically to Amazon. “Dear, Amazon,” they wrote in a joint letter, reported by Crain’s Chicago Business, “We want to assure you that Chicago, our surrounding communities and the state of Illinois remain ready to welcome HQ2 to our city, and to ensure a smooth and successful transition and launch.”

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Jun 13, 2021

Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl

CMO
Kyndryl
IBM
Leadership
Kate Birch
5 min
Former CMO for IBM Americas Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl. Maria talks about her new role and her leadership style

Former Chief Marketing Officer for IBM Americas, and an IBM veteran of more than 25 years, Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl.

Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.

With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.

You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?

I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.

We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.

What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?

I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.

The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.

I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.

What does success look like to you?

I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.

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