Arvind Krishna to Succeed Ginni Rometty as CEO of IBM

Arvind Krishna has been elected as the CEO of IBM and a member of its board of directors. In this role, Krishna succeeds Virginia "Ginni" Rometty, IBM chairman, president, and CEO, who 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.

Announcing the executive changes on January 30, IBM said that Krishna, who is currently IBM SVP for Cloud and Cognitive Software, and was a principal architect of the company's acquisition of Red Hat, would assume the job on April 6, 2020. 

James Whitehurst, IBM SVP and CEO of Red Hat, was also elected by the board as IBM president, effective April 6, 2020.  

"Arvind is the right CEO for the next era at IBM," said Rometty, in a statement released by IBM. "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.  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. 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."

In addition, she said, "Jim is also a seasoned leader who has positioned Red Hat as the world's leading provider of open source enterprise IT software solutions and services, and has been quickly expanding the reach and benefit of that technology to an even wider audience as part of IBM.  In Arvind and Jim, the board has elected a proven technical and business-savvy leadership team."

Virginia Rometty, 62, became chairman, president, and CEO of IBM in 2012. IBM said that under Rometty's leadership, the company acquired 65 companies, built out key capabilities in hybrid cloud, security, industry and data, and AI both organically and inorganically, and completed one of the largest technology acquisitions in history.  In addition, she reinvented more than 50% 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.

Krishna, 57, is IBM SVP 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.  Prior to that, he built and led many of IBM's data-related businesses. 

Whitehurst, 52, is IBM SVP and CEO of Red Hat, which was acquired by IBM in 2019. During his tenure at Red Hat, revenue grew over eight times and market capitalization by more than 10 times.  He joined Red Hat from Delta Airlines, where he drove significant international expansion and as COO oversaw all aspects of airline operations.  Prior to that, he was a partner at The Boston Consulting Group.