RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Arvind Krishna, acknowledged as the architect behind the 2019 acquisition of Red Hat for $32 billion, will be IBM’s next chair.

The IBM board disclosed the selection of Krishna, 58, as the replacement for Ginni Rometty, whose retirement at month’s end had been previously disclosed. The news came in a securities filing Wednesday evening after the markets closed.

Krishna, who joined IBM in 1990, was named CEO in April to replace Rometty.

IBM’s board of directors appointed CEO Arvind Krishna as its chairman, taking over from executive chairman and former chief executive Ginni Rometty, who is retiring at the end of the year.

Krishna also is championing the division of IBM into two companies sometime in 2021 with a smaller group focusing on services and the larger targeting cloud computing, artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies. He and IBM President Jim Whitehurst – the former CEO of Red Hat – are spearheading an IBM-Red Hat drive to become a bigger player in cloud infrastructure and services.

IBM operates one of its largest corporate campuses in RTP. Red Hat remains based in Raleigh.

Ginni Rometty talks with Jim Whitehurst in 2019. (Image from Red Hat video)

Here’s what IBM had to say about Krishna and Rometty:

“Mr. Krishna, 58, was elected IBM’s 10th CEO in January, and assumed the position on April 6, 2020 after holding numerous senior leadership positions in the company, most recently as IBM senior vice president for cloud and cognitive software, where he was a principal architect of the company’s acquisition of Red Hat (RHT). Recently, he announced the spin-off of IBM’s $19 billion Managed Infrastructure Services business, to be completed in 2021, which will create two industry-leading companies and enable IBM to focus on its leading open Hybrid Cloud and Artificial Intelligence Platform. He joined IBM in 1990 and became a director of the company in April.

“Mrs. Rometty, 63, became IBM’s chairman, chief executive officer and president in 2012. During her tenure, she took bold strategic actions to reposition IBM for the hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence era. She reinvented IBM’s portfolio, investing in high-value segments of the IT market, divesting $9 billion of businesses and growing new units organically and through acquisition, including Red Hat, the largest acquisition in the company’s history, to position IBM for long-term success. At the same time, she established IBM as the industry’s leading voice in technology ethics and data stewardship, and her commitment to the reinvention of education for the digital era led to the explosive growth of the six-year Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools, or P-TECHs, which are helping prepare the workforce of the future, serving hundreds of thousands of students in more than 240 schools in 28 countries.”

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