Red Hat acquisition architect Arvind Krishna to be new IBM chief

Red Hat acquisition architect Arvind Krishna to be new IBM chief
IBM Corp CEO-elect Arvind Krishna  |  Photo Credit: IBM
31 Jan, 2020

Armonk-headquartered information technology (IT) giant IBM has elected Arvind Krishna, currently senior vice president of cloud and cognitive software, as CEO of the firm. Krishna is slated to take over from incumbent CEO Ginni Rometty in April.

Rometty, currently chairman, president and CEO at the firm, will continue as executive chairman of the board till the end of the year when she retires after a 40-year stint with the firm.

"Arvind is the right CEO for the next era at IBM… has grown IBM's cloud and cognitive software business and led the largest acquisition in the company's history. He is well positioned to lead IBM and its clients into the cloud and cognitive era," Rometty said in a statement on Thursday.

Rometty, 62, steps down as CEO after holding the post for eight years. During her tenure, IBM pushed through 65 acquisitions, including open source enterprise software provider Red Hat. She is credited with steering the 109-year old firm towards emerging growth segments such as hybrid cloud, security, industry and data, and AI (artificial intelligence).

Apart from Krishna, the board also elected James Whitehurst, senior vice president and CEO of Red Hat, as president, also effective from April. 

IIT Kanpur alumnus Krishna, 57, was the principal architect of the $34 billion Red Hat acquisition, IBM’s biggest acquisition till date. The acquisition gave IBM much needed capabilities to compete in the cloud computing era against rivals such as Amazon, Alphabet and Microsoft.

“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… Jim will be a great partner in the next step of this journey," Krishna said in the statement. 

Krishna’s career in IBM spans nearly three decades. Prior to his current role overseeing the cloud and cognitive software business, he was general manager of the IBM Systems and Technology Group's development and manufacturing organization. Earlier, he also built and led many of the firm’s data-related businesses.

Earlier this month, IBM’s India operations also saw a leadership change. The firm appointed Sandip Patel managing director of its India and South Asia operations following the departure of Karan Bajwa. Bajwa stepped down less than four years after holding charge as managing director. Patel was earlier based in Boston, Massachusetts, where he was IBM’s global general manager for the insurance industry and responsible for its business across all brands in that market segment.