IBM colleagues praise leadership qualities of their new CEO Arvind Krishna

CEO of IBM Arvind Krishna (IBM)

Although he was head of research at IBM then, fellow researchers at IBM's Watson Research Center in New York who worked under Arvind Krishna, the newly-appointed CEO of the tech giant, last week reminisced about their new boss as a person “very deeply appreciative” of his colleagues’ contribution to research.

“He was always very quick to recognize and appreciate the achievements of his colleagues in periodic meetings and get-together of researchers and would identify them and talk at length about all their accomplishments,” a senior Indian American researcher at Watson, who has worked under Krishna when he was heading the research division, told India Abroad. He did not want to be identified by name as he is not authorized to speak to the media.

“Apart from his leadership quality, I have always found Krishna to be versatile with deep knowledge in everything from AI to quantum computing to Blockchain, although he was responsible for developing and engineering advanced semiconductor materials,” the IBMer told this correspondent.

He described Krishna, an IIT, Kanpur undergraduate who did Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as a person with a great leadership quality, particularly a vision for the future of both IBM and also things like Blockchain and AI technologies.

Following his appointment as the new CEO of the company, Virginia Rometty, IBM Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, remarked that Arvind is the right CEO for the next era at 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,” Rometty said.

Before becoming the CEO of IBM, Krishna was VP, Cloud & Cognitive software and had gone through a string of roles in research and business management. He joined IBM in 1990.

His roles in the past include working on the popular Watson project and he also served as a general manager and senior VP of different businesses. In 2019, Krishna led the largest acquisition in IBM’s history as he a principal architect of IBM’s $34 billion takeover of open source software giant Red Hat.

“I was mentioning to you about Krishna’s vision. This acquisition of Red Hat is an example of that vision and his forward thinking capabilities,” the IBM researcher said.

Krishna had been active on the editorial boards and program committees of several IEEE and ACM technical journals and conferences.

In 2016, Krishna who was then Senior Vice President and Director, IBM Research, announced IBM's collaboration with the University of Illinois to help its researchers extend the boundaries of cognitive computing and Watson even further.

Last year Krishna was quoted in an IBM news release touting the IBM Q System as the world's first fully-integrated universal quantum computing system. “This new system is critical in expanding quantum computing beyond the walls of the research lab as we work to develop practical quantum applications for business and science” he said at the time.

In an interview here with CNN Money last week, Krishna predicted the commercial availability of quantum computers within this decade. It is “no longer science fiction,” he said.

Speaking at an engineering conference in Stanford in 2016, he noted that artificial intelligence will be more impactful than the steam engine and its benefits will raise the global standard of living if one harnesses it appropriately.

In a keynote address at the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit partner event, “The Future of Artificial Intelligence,” Krishna pointed out that two things are critical to achieving advances in artificial intelligence: the creation of more open data sets, and infrastructure investment.

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