Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of Local Tech Wire and business editor of

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Robert Moffat has been erased at IBM,

“Biography you tried to access does not exist,” reads IBM’s Web site when someone tries to access a link to Moffat’s biography and photo. The confidant to IBM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sam Palmisano was placed on leave Monday following his arrest on Friday for allegedly participating in an insider trading ring.

His lawyer, meanwhile, spoke out in defense of Moffat.

Kerry Lawrence said the government hasn’t accused Moffat of profiting from the alleged scheme, The Associated Press reported.

“Not only have they not alleged that, but that definitely did not happen,” Lawrence said.

The AP also noted that it is "unclear from the court filings how Moffat would have benefited." Moffat’s lawyer declined to comment furhter on the case.

Moffat’s erasure and loss of IBM officer status didn’t placate Lee Conrad, the national coordinator for Alliance@IBM, the union seeking to represent IBM workers.

“If this was a rank and file IBMer who violated the Business Conduct Guidelines they would have been immediately fired,” Conrad told The Skinny. “It appears that Moffat is immune to the usual process in IBM.

“On the legal front he is certainly innocent until proven guilty but it reinforces employees belief that the motto in IBM corporate headquarters is that ‘greed is good,’” Conrad added.

Rodney Adkins, who is IBM’s senior vice president in charge of development and manufacturing, is replacing Moffat. Adkins is a graduate of Georgia Tech.

"Rod Adkins has been named acting head of the Systems and Technology Group," Edward Barbini, an IBM spokesperson, told ChannelWeb. "In addition, Rod will continue in his role as leader of our Systems Development and Manufacturing.

"In view of the U.S. federal investigation into his personal activities, Mr. Moffat has been placed on temporary leave of absence and is no longer serving as an officer of IBM."

In an interview over the weekend with the New York newspaper Times Herald-Record, Conrad said there was when news about Moffat’s arrest broke.

Moffat rose through IBM’s ranks with a reputation for cost cutting and job slashing. In fact, a wire service story described him as a “cost cutting maven.” He also spearheaded the sale of IBM’s PC division to Lenovo in 2005.

The AP picked up on the cost-cutting in Moffat’s career as well, noting: "IBM has trumpeted Moffat’s ability to slash costs and make the company faster and more efficient, particularly in manufacturing."

However, Moffat’s career may have come to a stunning close with the allegations that he provided inside information about Sun, IBM and AMD to the insider ring.

The case caused Conrad to question Palmisano’s judgment in promoting Moffat.

“It is equally disturbing that this person was hand picked by Sam Palmisano to be the next CEO,” Conrad said. “What does this say about Palmisano’s judgment in picking this guy as the next leader of IBM?

“But remember this is a guy who slashed thousands of jobs,” Conrad added. “That is how you get promoted in the new IBM.”

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