IBM Overhauls Executive Ranks


Major changes are under way at IBM as several influential and high-ranking executives are changing roles within the world's largest computing company, according to sources familiar with the changes.

For partners, the biggest news is the reassignment of Michael Borman, general manager of IBM's Global Business Partners and PartnerWorld organization. He has been tasked to oversee IBM's iSeries. In his role as head of IBM's partnering efforts, Borman was largely responsible for the successful consolidation of multiple programs and initiatives tied to partners under the PartnerWorld umbrella. During his reign, partner satisfaction grew and loyalty held steady amid the economic downturn and dot-com bust. He will be succeeded by longtime IBM sales executive Donn Atkins, who has been overseeing the global sales efforts of the company's $14.3 billion software unit.

Borman will now oversee IBM's iSeries server hardware division in a move reminiscent of what IBM did with Borman's predecessor, Buell Duncan. Duncan is now responsible for developer relations.

A memo circulating at IBM's Armonk, N.Y., headquarters details the changes, which also include new assignments for Robert J. LeBlanc, head of Tivoli software; John Swainson, general manager of IBM's middleware efforts; and Al Zollar, the former Lotus boss who was most recently in charge of the IBM iSeries brand. LeBlanc will take over Swainson's role and oversee WebSphere and IBM's middleware product line. Swainson will now be responsible for IBM software sales and marketing. Zollar will now oversee Tivoli software.

The latest developments impact a range of executives who have traveled in and out of several sales, marketing, finance and channel roles. Partners have been praising IBM for its consistency and predictability of its channel programs and initiatives. Borman had been in the top partner role for 18 months, winning over the confidence and respect of many key organizations. He recently elevated Greg Adams to the role of North American channel chief.

These moves come amid widespread changes in the channel-management ranks involving the likes of HP, Sun, SAP and Symantec.