Indian American Arvind Krishna named IBM chief executive officer

International Business Machines Corporation or IBM has named Arvind Krishna as chief executive officer and a member of the Board of Directors, effective April 6.

Krishna, 57, currently a senior vice president for Cloud and Cognitive Software at IBM, replaces longtime CEO Virginia Rometty, who 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.

“Arvind is the right CEO for the next era at IBM," an IBM press release quoted Rometty as saying. "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,” she said. “He is also a superb operational leader, able to win today while building the business of tomorrow,” she added.

"I am thrilled and humbled to be elected as the next chief executive officer of IBM, and appreciate the confidence that Ginni and the Board have placed in me," said Krishna. "IBM has such talented people and technology that we can bring together to help our clients solve their toughest problems. 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,” he said.

In his current role, leads the IBM business unit that provides the cloud and data platform on which IBM's clients build the future. His current responsibilities also include the IBM Cloud, IBM Security and Cognitive Applications business, and IBM Research.

According to an IBM press release, Krishna was the “principal architect” of the company's Red Hat acquisition. CRN magazine says “the $34 billion acquisition of the open-source software vendor, which was completed last July, was IBM's largest acquisition yet in its long history.”

Prior to his current role, Krishna, who joined IBM in 1990, was general manager of IBM's Systems and Technology Group's development and manufacturing organization. Prior to that he built and led many of IBM's data-related businesses. He has an undergraduate degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and a PhD. in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

In tandem with the announcement of Krishna as the next IBM CEO, the company announced that James Whitehurst, Red Hat CEO and IBM senior vice president, will assume the role of IBM president as of April 6.

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