RALEIGH – If anyone is worried that Red Hat will undergo a seismic reshuffle once IBM completes its $34 billion buyout of the open source firm later this year, you can put those fears to rest.

One of North Carolina’s top IBM executives gave a rare glimpse into ongoing acquisition negotiations, and said Big Blue has every intention of making sure that “the Red Hat brand stays intact.”

“People have the misconception that there’s a desire to want to strip out everything that made Red Hat successful. That’s not the case,” IBM’s VP of Chief Data Office Tim Humphrey told WRAL TechWire. “From the innovation and culture, to the leadership and decision-making, we want to keep all that intact. That’s why we purchased them.”

He added: “This is easier to do than people would think. We are looking at how we can grow well together.”

Humphrey was among the 600-strong crowd in attendance of NC TECH’s State of Technology Conference today, for which IBM is the sponsor. While he admitted that he is not leading acquisition discussions, he has been part of meetings to discuss the logistics.

Despite Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst admitting earlier this week that the two tech giants have different operating work cultures, Humphrey dismissed any suggestions that this could be a future source of strife.

“When you start to really look under the covers, we’re perfectly aligned,” said Humphrey, who is a graduate of NC State and has worked at IBM since 1995, apart from a six-year break when he went to Lenovo after IBM sold its PC business to the company.

“IBM is a little bit more like Red Hat than people would think. We openly embrace agile. We’ve always embraced open source. We believe in the speed of innovation that you can get from open source, and Red Hat is the master. It’s actually a really good fit.”

IBM Chair and CEO Ginni Rometty reiterated Tuesday that Red Hat would remain independent as promised.

“I don’t have a death wish for $34 billion,” Rometty said at the Red Hat Summit in Boston.

Talking about anther good fit, IBM has sponsored NC TECH’s State of Technology Conference since its inception in 2009.

Each year, executives from across sectors gather for the flagship tech conference to participate in keynotes, interactive panel discussions, a startup pitch competition and an exhibit showcase. This year’s theme is cybersecurity, and its rising threat in today’s technology-dependent world.

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