International Business Machines Corp. named Arvind Krishna as chief executive officer, replacing longtime CEO Virginia Rometty.
Krishna is currently the Head of IBM’s cloud and cognitive software unit and was a principal architect of the company’s purchase of Red Hat, which was completed last year. Rometty will continue as executive chairman and serve through the end of the year.
Rometty is retiring from IBM after 40 years. She became IBM’s first female CEO in 2012, and had bet the company’s future on the market for hybrid cloud, which allows businesses to store data on both private and public cloud networks run by rivals such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Corp.’s Azure.
Rometty embarked on ambitious plans to expand in cloud computing and artificial intelligence. She divested unprofitable businesses and bet big on an AI data-analytics tool called Watson. Yet the efforts were stymied by the emergence of a new competitor in the delivery of computing over the internet: Amazon.com Inc. During one particularly painful several-year stretch, IBM’s sales declined for 17 quarters in a row. For its part, Watson has been faulted by customers who said it never quite lived up to the hype. The shares lost a quarter of their value from the beginning of 2012 through today.
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," CEO Rometty said in a statement
Krishna studied at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and has a PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois. He joined IBM in 1990.
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