IBM's Ginni Rometty stepping down as CEO for cloud computing chief

Arvind Krishna takes over as CEO effective April 6

IBM’s board of directors elected Arvind Krishna as the company’s new chief executive officer as Virginia Rometty prepares to retire from the company.

Krishna will take over the CEO role effective April 6, the company announced Thursday.

The future CEO is currently IBM’s senior vice president for cloud and cognitive software. He also played a major role in IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat.

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IBM’s stock price was up nearly 4 percent in after-hours trading.

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IBM INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP. 146.11 +0.67 +0.46%

Rometty, 62, 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. She called Krishna “the right CEO for the next era at IBM."

Ginni Rometty, president and CEO of IBM, attends a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

“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 said. “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.”

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The company also announced that James Whitehurst, its senior vice president and CEO of Red Hat, was elected to the board as president, also effective April 6.

“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,” Rometty said.

Rometty leaves as someone who worked feverishly to transform the company. During her tenure as CEO she oversaw the acquisition of 65 companies. She began her career at Big Blue as a systems analyst and worked her way up the ranks to push the company into new business areas such as artificial intelligence and cloud computing, but failed to re-ignite excitement of investors to buy IBM stock.

Even as IBM made headway into the new fields, it was fending off the "new" tech concerns such as in the area of cloud computing where it trails Amazon and Microsoft and has Google coming up fast from the rear, playing catch-up

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