IBM reshuffles: Krishna CEO, Whitehurst president, Rometty to retire

Arvind Krishna is noted as a key architect of the company's Red Hat acquisition.

IBM chief executive Ginni Rometty is stepping down in April, the company announced Thursday. Arvind Krishna, noted as a key architect of the company's Red Hat acquisition, will become CEO upon Rometty's exit. 

Rometty will serve as executive chairman through 2020 and then retire. Red Hat's CEO Jim Whitehurst was named IBM president.

Krishna currently serves as the SVP for IBM's cloud and cognitive software unit. In a prepared statement, Rometty -- who has served as CEO of IBM since 2012 -- praised Krishna's track record with IBM and his ability to lead the company through its next era. 

"Arvind is the right CEO for the next era at IBM," said Rometty. "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. He is well-positioned to lead IBM and its clients into the cloud and cognitive era."

Rometty leaves behind a mixed legacy at IBM. The company's stock price dropped over 25% during her tenure, but she's credited with reorganizing IBM's portfolio with a focus on cloud and cognitive computing. She also gets the credit for leading IBM through its purchase of Red Hat, which so far looks to be paying off. In its Q4 earnings report issued last week, IBM said its cloud and cognitive software revenue -- which includes Red Hat -- was up 8.7% to $7.2 billion.

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