International Business Machines Corp., better known as IBM, announced Jan. 30 that Indian American Arvind Krishna has been elected by the company’s board of directors as the successor to Virginia Rometty, who is stepping down from her post as chief executive officer.
Krishna, who is currently IBM senior vice president for Cloud and Cognitive Software, and was a principal architect of the company's acquisition of Red Hat, will assume the role April 6, the company said in a news release.
"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," said Krishna in a statement. "IBM has such talented people and technology that we can bring together to help our clients solve their toughest problems,” he said.
“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,” he added. “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."
Krishna, 57, is IBM senior vice president for Cloud and Cognitive Software, where he leads the IBM business unit that provides the cloud and data platform on which IBM's clients build the future.
His current responsibilities also include the IBM Cloud, IBM Security and Cognitive Applications business, and IBM Research. Previously, he was general manager of IBM's Systems and Technology Group's development and manufacturing organization, his bio notes.
Prior to that he built and led many of IBM's data-related businesses. He has an undergraduate degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and a doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He joined IBM in 1990.
James Whitehurst, IBM senior vice president and CEO of Red Hat, was also elected by the board as IBM president, effective April 6, the release added.
Rometty, IBM chairman, president and CEO, will continue as executive chairman of the board and serve through the end of the year, when she will retire after almost 40 years with the company, it said.
"Arvind is the right CEO for the next era at IBM," Rometty said in a statement of her successor. "He is a brilliant technologist who has played a significant role in developing our key technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud, quantum computing and blockchain,” she added.
“He is also a superb operational leader, able to win today while building the business of tomorrow. Arvind has grown IBM's Cloud and Cognitive Software business and led the largest acquisition in the company's history,” she continued.
“Through his multiple experiences running businesses in IBM, Arvind has built an outstanding track record of bold transformations and proven business results, and is an authentic, values-driven leader. He is well-positioned to lead IBM and its clients into the cloud and cognitive era," Rometty added.
"In Arvind and Jim, the board has elected a proven technical and business-savvy leadership team," she concluded.
Rometty, 62, assumed her role in 2012. During her tenure she made bold changes to reposition IBM for the future, investing in high value segments of the IT market and optimizing the company's portfolio, the company said.
Under Rometty's leadership, IBM acquired 65 companies, built out key capabilities in hybrid cloud, security, industry and data, and AI both organically and inorganically, and successfully completed one of the largest technology acquisitions in history, it added.
She reinvented more than 50 percent of IBM's portfolio, built a $21 billion hybrid cloud business and established IBM's leadership in AI, quantum computing and blockchain, while divesting nearly $9 billion in annual revenue to focus the portfolio on IBM's high value, integrated offerings, it said.
Rometty also established IBM as the industry's leading voice in technology ethics and data stewardship, working relentlessly to usher new technologies safely into society, and enabling people of diverse backgrounds and education levels to participate in the digital future. She has been committed to building talent and skills around the world, the release continued.
She created thousands of new collar jobs and championed the reinvention of education around the world, including the explosive growth of the six-year Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools, or P-TECHs, which are helping prepare the workforce of the future, serving hundreds of thousands of students in 200 schools and 24 countries.
"Arvind thinks and executes squarely at the intersection of business and technology," said Alex Gorsky, chairman of the board's Executive Compensation and Management Resources Committee. "He is an ideal leader to succeed Ginni and take IBM and its clients into the next chapter of the cloud and cognitive era."