Curtis H. Tearte '73


Chief Executive Officer, Tearte Associates, Inc.
Chairman, Tearte Family Foundation

Elected 2014

Curtis Tearte is a business transformation expert with over 30 years of experience envisioning and operationalizing improved business practices, efficiencies, outcomes and new markets and products through innovative applications of evolving technology. He is a proven leader in developing strategies and managing complex business relationships with global clients and governments, with a deep track record of building consensus and governance models to ensure success. Having spent the majority of his career in multiple leadership positions with one of the largest and most influential technology companies worldwide, he brings premiere, best-practices expertise and extensive knowledge about the foundation of the technology superstructure.

Tearte is experienced in governance for not-for-profit, civic and cultural organizations, currently serving on the boards of Brandeis University Board of Trustees, Brandeis Alumni Association, and the University of Connecticut Law School Foundation. He is also chairs the Southeast Scholars Advisory Selection Committee of the Jackie Robinson Foundation and serves as chairman of the Tearte Family Foundation. Previously, he served on the boards of the Thurgood Marshall College fund, the, and the Columbus Ohio Symphony.

After earning his undergraduate degree in African and Afro American Studies, Tearte served as a legislative assistant to the Congressional Black Caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1973-1974, subsequently earning his JD from the University of Connecticut.  He served as Associate Director of The Center for Educational Services at Brandeis University, his alma mater, before being recruited by IBM in 1979.

He joined the company as a sales and marketing executive, consistently earning the company’s highest sales awards. He progressed through executive corporate levels as director, vice president and general manager, reporting two levels below CEO, and responsible for multiple sectors across the key revenue-generating areas of the company with revenues up to $15+B and worldwide teams of up to 1,200 personnel. He also served on the IBM Worldwide Management Committee, comprised of the top 60 IBM Executives. He typically managed turnaround situations; creating innovative, collaborative approaches that leveraged technology solutions with an extensive personal network of resources and relationships. He developed extensive expertise across a range of key vertical industries including government, healthcare (life sciences and pharmaceuticals), education and retail.

In his final assignment for IBM, he was appointed in 2010 by the CEO to lead the company’s single largest IT transformation, a project designed to begin in Georgia as a prototype for all state governments. Key to success of the effort was a governance model designed by Tearte to drive the operations and collaborative processes of both State Agencies and IT providers. Other aspects of the project included developing IT disaster recovery plans, which were tested through four successful exercises (the first ever in the state) and establishing a secure printing facility to ensure integrity of confidential documents. As of 2013 the program was recognized and under evaluation for potential use/rollout by a number of U.S. state and allied foreign governments.

Prior to his planned departure in 2013, under the IBM Transition to Retirement Program, Tearte developed an innovative concept of twin, interrelated entities that combine his business expertise with his not-for-profit experience, relationship-building skills and personal, give-back interests. He formed Tearte Associates, a firm that provides investment management, business consulting and educational opportunities for students via the Tearte Family Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization. The objective of the Foundation is to work through partnerships to identify students with academic promise and leadership potential to become Tearte Scholars who receive leadership training, personal development through coaching and mentoring, and financial support to complete high school and pursue post-secondary education and career goals. Partners include Brandeis University, Emory University Goizueta School of Business, the Jackie Robinson Foundation, Teach for America, 100 Black Men, Posse Foundation, and other educational entities. Tearte serves as CEO of Tearte Associates and Chairman of the Foundation.

Tearte is a member of the Executive Leadership Council, which represents the most senior African American Fortune 500 Executives; the United Way Tocqueville Society; 100 Black Men of Metro North Atlanta, and is a life member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. Previously he was a member of the Greater Boston United Way, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, and served as a Registered Lobbyist for the State of Georgia from 2010-2013 and served on the Board of the Atlanta Tipoff Club (sponsors of the Naismith Awards), from 2012- 2014.