IBM CEO Virginia Rometty Steps Down

Arvind Krishna was named as her replacement

Virginia Rometty has held the top job at IBM since 2012. Getty
Headshot of Diana Pearl

Virginia Rometty is leaving her post as CEO of IBM.

Arvind Krishna will take her place. Until now, Krishna served as IBM’s svp for cloud and cognitive software. James Whitehurst, the CEO of cloud computing company Red Hat, which IBM acquired for $34 billion last year, will become IBM’s president.

Rometty has held the top job at IBM since 2012, and was the first woman to hold the position at the company. She’s been with IBM for over 40 years, and will retain a role as executive chairman of the board through the end of the year, after which she will retire.

Rometty’s time at the helm of the tech giant can be characterized as a time of expansion and acquisition. During her tenure, IBM purchased 65 companies, and made new investments in artificial intelligence, cloud computing and more. In a statement, she said that Krishna is “the right CEO for the next era at IBM” and lauded his accomplishments in the cloud and cognitive software division—in particular, the Red Hat acquisition.

“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.”

Krishna is also an IBM veteran with 30 years experience at the company, having joined in 1990. In his new role, he will also join the company’s board of directors. He starts in the CEO post on April 6.


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@dianapearl_ diana.pearl@adweek.com Diana is the deputy brands editor at Adweek and managing editor of Brandweek.
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