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IBM CEO asked Augusta question at meeting

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At an IBM shareholder meeting in North Charleston, S.C., new chief executive officer Virginia Rometty was asked if she had been offered membership to Augusta National.

“I’m certainly very happy about our CEO and be anxious to know if she’s a member of Augusta?” a male shareholder asked at the meeting, according to Bloomberg News Service. The unidentified man added, “No response is required.'

The question caused the room to fill with laughter, but Rometty did not answer. Chairman Sam Palmisano said the shareholder had made a 'very kind comment.'

On January 1, Rometty became the first female CEO of the company. Augusta National has offered membership to the previous four CEOs of IBM, which is one of three major sponsors of the Masters. 

Since its founding in 1933, Augusta National has never had a female member. It is unclear if the club has or will offer membership to Rometty.

Augusta National chairman Billy Payne was asked several times during a pre-tournament news conference about Rometty and admitting a woman to the club. Payne declined comment on any facet of membership issues, in general or specifically pertaining to Rometty.