International Business Machines, popularly known as IBM, has announced that its chief executive officer Virginia “Ginni” Rometty is stepping down after eight-year run at the technology company. She will formally step down on 6th April.
Along with this, the company has named Arvind Krishna as her successor. Arvind is currently heading the company’s cloud and cognitive-software division. The company has also revealed that Jim Whitehurst, CEO of Red Hat, which IBM acquired last year, has been appointed as the company’s president.
This is the first time that IBM will have a leadership structure with a CEO and separate president, forming a dual executive team—one member with deep IBM experience and another new, who will focus on reviving its fortunes.
Indian-origin Arvind Krishna had joined IBM in 1990 and holds an undergraduate degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In a statement, he said:
I am thrilled and humbled to be elected as the next Chief Executive Officer of IBM, and appreciate the confidence that Ginni and the Board have placed in me. I am looking forward to working with IBMers, Red Hatters and clients around the world at this unique time of fast-paced change in the IT industry. We have great opportunities ahead to help our clients advance the transformation of their business while also remaining the global leader in the trusted stewardship of technology.
The company has said that Virginia Rometty will continue as the company’s board chairman through the end of the year. She has been one of the most high-profile female CEOs in business. However, during her time as CEO of IBM, the company’s shares fell by more than 25 percent and lagged behind other tech giants.
The Red Hat acquisition was Ms. Rometty’s signature effort to fast track IBM’s revival. The deal, in the last quarter, returned the company to modest top-line growth, though analysts said the jury is out on whether Red Hat will return the hefty premium IBM paid for the business.
Rometty’s boldest move is said to be the $34 billion deal to acquire open-source software provider Red Hat. It was seen as a transaction to help save the company from irrelevancy in a business led by younger tech giants. However, only time will tell if Red Hat will return the hefty premium that IBM paid.
The appointment of Arvind Krishna as the CEO of IBM is yet another addition to the list of Indian-origin executives leading some of the biggest multinational companies. Arvind Krishna now joins the club that includes Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga, and Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen.