Virginia “Ginni” Rometty is stepping down from her role as CEO of IBM and will retire at the end of the year after nearly 40 years at the company. She will be replaced as CEO by current IBM SVP for cloud and cognitive software Arvind Krishna on April 6th, who will also become a member of the board of directors.

In the shake up James Whitehurst, CEO of IBM acquired open source software company Red Hat has also been promoted to IBM president, breaking up the top roles Rometty held.

Rometty has been chairman, president and CEO of big blue since 2012, and will continue as executive chairman of the board for the rest of the year. 

Rometty said Krishna, the architect of the $34 billion Red Hat acquisition, is the right CEO to take IBM forward.

“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.”

Rometty is credited with IBM’s shift to hybrid cloud, security, data, and AI services.

“She reinvented more than 50 per cent 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,” a company statement said today.

New CEO and president

New CEO Krishna said he was thrilled and humbled to be the new leader of the company.

“IBM has such talented people and technology that we can bring together to help our clients solve their toughest problems,” Krishna said. 

“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 while also remaining the global leader in the trusted stewardship of technology. 

Krishna said he looks forward to continuing his work with Red Hat CEO and new IBM president Jim Whitehurst, who said it was an honour to be elected as IBM president.

“I’ve had the opportunity to interact with IBMers across the company over the past few months, and I have been so impressed with the talented and dedicated team we have,” Whitehurst said.

“When I first joined, I said that I believe we have the opportunity to be the defining technology company of the twenty-first century.  After working with our clients, IBMers and Red Hatters over the past months, I am even more convinced of that opportunity today.”

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