Media Moves

IBM’s Ginni Rommetty to step down from CEO post

January 31, 2020

Posted by Irina Slav

IBM’s first female chief executive Ginni Rommetty will step down in April.

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY – SEPTEMBER 11: Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM, speaks during the press days at the 2019 IAA Frankfurt Auto Show on September 11, 2019 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The IAA will be open to the public from September 12 through 22. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

CNBC’s Jordan Novet reported the news:

IBM shares jumped as much as 5% on Thursday after the company said Arvind Krishna is becoming its 10th CEO, replacing Virginia “Ginni” Rometty. The change is effective on April 6, according to a statement.

Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat’s former CEO, is becoming IBM’s president, the company said. IBM completed its $34 billion Red Hat acquisition in July.

Rometty, 62, became IBM president and CEO on January 1, 2012, replacing Sam Palmisano. Earlier she had responsibilities in sales, marketing and strategy. Rometty studied computer science and electrical engineering at Northwestern University.

Her official biography on IBM’s website credits her with leading “the successful integration of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting, creating a global team of more than 100,000 business consultants and services experts.”

Under Rometty, IBM made cloud services a bigger priority, and it exited some businesses, including the low-end server unit it sold to Lenovo in 2014. At the same time the company has stuck around in core markets like mainframe computers and database software.

Fortune’s Jonathan Vanian wrote:

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty will step down as chief of the technology giant.

IBM’s board of directors said on Thursday that they have elected Arvind Krishna to become the company’s new CEO on April 6, 2020. James Whitehurst, an IBM senior vice president and CEO of enterprise software firm Red Hat—which was acquired by IBM in July for $34 billion—will become IBM’s president in April.

Rometty will remain IBM’s chairman until the end of the year, when she will officially retire after a 40-year tenure at Big Blue.

“Arvind is the right CEO for the next era at IBM,” Rometty said in a statement. “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.”

Rometty’s plans to retire from IBM comes after years of declining revenue and a slumping share price, as the over-100-year-old company tried to retool itself amid a rapidly changing information technology market. Under her tenure, IBM experienced 22 consecutive quarters of sales declines that ended in 2018. In the company’s latest quarter, sales dropped 3.9% year-over-year to $18 billion.

Ron Miller from TechCrunch reported:

In a statement Rometty called Krishna the right man for the job, as she steps back after more than eight years on the job. “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,” she said in a statement.

She added that in choosing Krishna and Whitehurst, the board chose a technically and business savvy team to lead the company moving forward. It’s clear that the board went with two men who have a deep understanding of cloud and cognitive computing technologies, two areas that are obviously going to be front and center of technology for the foreseeable future, and areas where IBM needs to thrive.

Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research, sees the CEO-president model as a sound approach. “It’s and inside-outside model. To truly understand IBM, you have to come from the inside [like Krishna], but to truly innovate you need someone on the outside [like Whitehurst] and that CEO-president model is helping,” he said.


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