Virginia Rometty steps down, IBM elevates Arvind Krishna as CEO

Topics IBM

Arvind Krishna
Arvind Krishna, the head of IBM’s cloud and cognitive software unit and who was a principal architect of the company’s purchase of Red Hat, has been promoted to the position of chief executive officer, replacing Virginia Rometty.

Krishna, 57, whom Rometty described as the “right CEO for the next era at IBM”, will thus join the elite list of Indian-origin CEOs heading major US technology firms such as Google, Microsoft, Adobe, and MasterCard.   

Krishna will take charge on April 6, while Rometty, who has been at the helm since 2012, will continue as executive chairman until the end of the year and then retire after almost 40 years with the company.


“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. Arvind has grown IBM's cloud and cognitive software business and led the largest acquisition (Red Hat) in the company’s history,” Rometty said in a statement.

IBM bought Red Hat, an open source enterprise software firm, for $34 billion in 2018. The acquisition marked a big shift for IBM, which was earlier known for its proprietary software. 

Krishna joined the technology major in 1990 after graduating from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, in 1985 and completing his PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in electronics & computer engineering. Vishal Misra, professor at Columbia University and co-founder of cricinfo, who has known Krishna for close to 20 years, said the long-time IBM-er is “very level-headed and very skilled with people”.

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