- Arvind Krishna was appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of American IT Giant International Business Machines (IBM) after a “world-class succession phrase” led by Virginia Rometty
Indian technology entrepreneur Arvind Krishna was appointed Chief Executive Officer of American IT Giant International Business Machines (IBM) after a “world-class succession phrase” led by Virginia Rometty, who described him as the “right IBM CEO for the next era” and “well-positioned” to lead the company into the cloud and cognitive era.
Effective from April 6 the IBM Board of Directors named Krishna as CEO of the company and member of the Board of Directors. Krishna is currently Senior Vice President for Cloud and Cognitive Software at IBM and will succeed Rometty, 62, who will retire at the end of the year after nearly 40 years with the company.
Krishna, 57, joined IBM in 1990 and holds an Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, undergraduate degree and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
“I am thrilled and humbled to be elected as IBM’s next Chief Executive Officer and appreciate the trust Ginni and the Board have placed in me,” Krishna said in a press release issued by IBM.
“IBM has such talented people and technology that we can bring together to help our clients solve their toughest problems,” Krishna said.
“At this unique time of rapid change in the IT industry, I look forward to working with IBMers, Red Hatters and customers around the world. We have great opportunities ahead to help our customers accelerate their business transformation while also being the global leader in the trusted stewardship of technology,” Krishna said.
Krishna’s appointment as head of the global IT giant adds some of the biggest multinational companies to the growing list of Indian-origin executives at the helm. Krishna joins the Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga, former CEO of PepsiCo Indra Nooyi and CEO of Adobe Shantanu Narayen
Rometty, who had been the Chairman, President, and CEO of IBM, will continue as the Board’s Executive Chairman and will serve until the end of the year when she retires. She described Krishna as the “right IBM CEO for the next era” who is “well-positioned to lead IBM and its clients into the cloud and cognitive era.”
Rometty said Krishna is a “brilliant technologist who has played a major role in the development of our key technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud, quantum computing, and blockchain.
She said Krishna has expanded the Cloud and Cognitive Technology business for IBM and led the biggest acquisition in the history of the company. Krishna was a “key architect” of Red Hat acquisition at the company.
“Arvind has built an impressive track record of ambitious transitions and demonstrated business results through its multiple experiences at IBM, and is an authentic, value-driven leader.” James Whitehurst, IBM Senior Vice President and CEO of Red Hat, was also elected as IBM President by the IBM Board.
Rometty said the Board had elected an “established professional and business-savvy leadership team” in both Krishna and Whitehurst.
Lead Director of the IBM Board of Directors Michael Eskew said with the strong foundation now established by Rometty for IBM’s future, the Board is confident that Krishna is the “right CEO to lead IBM”.
“The Board ran a world-class succession process and found in Arvind a leader with the business acumen, operational skills, and technology vision needed to guide IBM in this fast-moving industry,” Eskew said.
Chairman of the Board’s Executive Compensation and Management Resources Committee Alex Gorsky said Krishna thinks and executes squarely at the intersection of business and technology. Gorsky said he is an “ideal leader” to succeed Rometty and take IBM and its clients into the next chapter of the cloud and cognitive era.
The IBM statement said that Krishna led the IBM business unit as IBM Senior Vice President for Cloud and Cognitive Software, which provides the cloud and data platform on which IBM customers build the future.
Its current responsibilities included the business of IBM Cloud, IBM Security and Cognitive Applications, and IBM Research. According to his profile on the IBM website, he leads the unit’s strategy, product design, growth, marketing, sales, and service and also guides IBM’s overall strategy in core and emerging technologies including artificial intelligence, quantum computing, blockchain, cloud platform services, data-driven solutions, and nanotechnology.
He was previously general manager of development and manufacturing organization for IBM Systems and Technology Group, responsible for the development and engineering of advanced semiconductor materials through microprocessors, servers, and storage systems.
Before that, Arvind was the general manager of IBM Information Management which included database, integration of information, and solutions for big data software. He served as IBM Software’s vice president of strategy. In IBM Software and IBM Research, where he pioneered IBM’s security software business, he also held several key technical roles.
Krishna is the recipient of the prestigious IITK and University of Illinois alumni honors, is the co-author of 15 patents, has been the editor of IEEE and ACM journals, and has written widely in academic conferences and journals, according to his profile on the IBM website.