International Business Machines Corp. has named Robert M. Howe to fill the newly created position of worldwide general manager for the company's banking, finance, and securities unit.

Mr. Howe had been general manager of IBM's North American banking, finance, and securities unit.

IBM's finance business provides banks and other companies with technology and services for customer relationship management, sales operations, infrastructure management, call center operations, and electronic banking efforts.

The promotion of Mr. Howe is an indication that IBM plans to expand its efforts to provide such services internationally.

Mr. Howe, who has worked at IBM since 1991 and previously was with the management consultancy Booz, Allen & Hamilton, said Big Blue's increasingly global focus is a response to the expansion of many of its banking clients overseas.

"Many of our financial services clients operate on a global basis both in terms of how they are structured and how they do business," said Mr. Howe.

"We are committed to strengthening our ability to respond to the global requirements of those customers."

Mr. Howe will report, as before, to William A. Etherington, general manager, industries, IBM North America.

IBM has not named Mr. Howe's successor.

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