IBM, a major economic force and presence in the Southern Tier for nearly a century, will end its physical presence in Endicott this year, the company announced.

Citing "significant modifications in the way companies operate," the company said it will end its lease of office space in Endicott.

"This news is bound to have a sentimental impact in this community, which is the birthplace of IBM," said Mary O'Malley-Trumble, IBM Endicott senior location executive.

It was in 1911 when multiple companies, including Bundy Manufacturing of Binghamton, later known as International Time Recording, merged to form Computing Tabulating Recording Company (CTR). Thomas J. Watson became CEO in 1914 and 10 years later, renamed the company International Business Machines, or IBM.

IBM went on to develop computers and software, which helped it grow into a global technology leader. At its height, IBM employed as many as 18,000 people in Endicott, a number that dwindled substantially over the years.

The company played an important role in shaping the growth of the Southern Tier area, and was a key sponsor in what would become Broome Community College and Binghamton University.

When its lease expires, IBM will continue to provide area employees with a "flexible work environment," O'Malley-Trumble said, adding that the closure will not result in job reductions and have a minimal impact on the area's employee numbers.

"We'll continue to sponsor STEM activities in the community and remain active with the Binghamton University Watson College of Engineering, and the IBM Museum of Endicott and the Endicott History and Heritage Center will continue to anchor IBM's presence in the community," she said.