Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Friday, May 29, 2020
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BofA CTO to Run IBM Cloud, Other Management Changes at Big Blue 

The January retirement of Ginni Rometty as CEO and President of IBM – with Arvind Krishna, formerly head of IBM Cloud, promoted to CEO, a post he officially adopted today – has kicked off significant management changes at Big Blue.

Bank of America CTO Howard Boville has been named to run IBM Cloud, and Red Hat – acquired by IBM for $34 billion in October 2018 – will be run by Paul Cormier, formerly Red Hat’s president of products and technology. He takes the role held former Red Hat CEO James Whitehurst, who was named IBM president when Rommety’s retirement was announced.

Arvind Krishna, IBM CEO

According to an article today from Reuters, while at BofA, the second largest U.S.  bank, Boville led the effort to build and manage the company’s cloud services. In November, IBM announced the availability of “financial services-specific cloud technology in collaboration with Bank of America,” according to Reuters.

Krishna released details of new appointments today in a letter sent to IBM employees and posted on LinkedIn, one that highlighted the strategic emphasis IBM places on hybrid cloud. In so doing, he also announced that Bridget van Kralingen, formerly head of IBM Industry Platforms and SVP of IBM’s Global Business Services, will become SVP of Global Markets, succeeding Martin Schroeter, who will retire after 28 years with the IBM.

Bridget van Kralingen of IBM

Krishna also said that Whitehurst will head IBM Strategy as well as the Cloud and Cognitive Software unit, “where he will oversee the foundational technologies that are driving digital transformation among our clients.”

The management alterations under Krishna-Whitehurst leadership duo emphasizes the importance to IBM’s future of the Red Hat deal, the third largest in the history of the technology industry, of which IBM has said Krishna “was a principal architect.” In IBM's latest earnings report in January, the big data analytics and hybrid/multi-cloud middleware provider (now included in IBM’s cloud and cognitive software division) reported Q4 earnings of $1.07 billion, an increase from $863 million YoY as a separate company.

Howard Boville

“IBM has already built enduring platforms in mainframe, services, and middleware,” Krishna said. “All three continue to serve our clients. I believe now is the time to build a fourth platform in hybrid cloud. An essential, ubiquitous hybrid cloud platform our clients will rely on to do their most critical work in this century. A platform that can last even longer than the others.”

Cormier, who at Red Hat led the effort to expand the company's products beyond Linux, said in a statement, "When I joined Red Hat, it would have been impossible to predict how Linux and open source would change our world, but they are truly everywhere. The transformations I see happening in our industry are exciting, as they present new challenges and opportunities. The opportunity for Red Hat has never been bigger than it is today and I am honored to lead the company to help our customers solve their challenges and to keep Red Hat at the forefront of innovation."

Rometty held the IBM leadership role starting in 2012.

In his note to employees, Krishna discussed the culture and values he wants to develop at IBM.

“Culture is everything,” he said. “It’s what drives capability in any organization. One of my key priorities will be fostering an entrepreneurial mindset across our business. This is about being nimble, pragmatic and aiming for speed over elegance. And, it’s about being comfortable with ambiguity and continuously adapting to shifting circumstances.”

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