IBM CEO Rometty Names New Sales, GBS Executives

Quickly taking the reins at IBM, new CEO Virginia Rometty has named Bruno Di Leo as the company's new senior vice president of IBM sales and distribution, and appointed Bridget Van Kralingen as senior vice president of IBM Global Business Services.

The changes were announced earlier this week in a memo from Rometty to IBM staffers. Rometty became IBM CEO as of Jan. 1, replacing Sam Palmisano who stepped down as CEO, but remains as the company's chairman.

Di Leo, who joined IBM in 1975 as a software engineer, was general manager of IBM's growth markets unit before being named the sales and distribution SVP. Before that Di Leo held a number of regional management posts around the world, including general manager of IBM's Latin American operations.

With Di Leo moving up to sales and distribution SVP, Rometty named James Bramante to be the new senior vice president of growth markets. Bramante was previously general manager of IBM's southwest European operations.

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The fact that the growth markets unit will now be managed by an SVP instead of a general manager is indicative of how important emerging markets are to IBM's future. Expansion in such markets as Brazil and Indonesia is one of IBM's key initiatives: Last year Palmisano said sales in growth markets, which increased 19 percent in the last quarter of 2011, would account for 30 percent of IBM's revenue by 2015.

As SVP of IBM Global Business Services, Van Kralingen will be responsible for continuing that business consulting unit's growth. Prior to this new job Van Kralingen served as general manager of IBM's North American sales and distribution business unit.

Van Kralingen replaces Frank Kern who is retiring after 35 years at IBM.

IBM announced in October that Rometty, a 30-year IBM veteran, would take over as IBM's first female CEO in the company's 100-year history.

Rometty was head of IBM's sales at the time of the announcement and was responsible for the company's global strategy, marketing and communications functions. Before that she was senior vice president of IBM Global Business Services.