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IBM’s Arvind Krishna Named New CEO As Ginni Rometty Steps Down

Rometty, who headed IBM during a long revenue decline even as she made it a cloud and AI powerhouse, will become executive chairman, while Krishna will become the new CEO and Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst will become IBM president.

Virginia Rometty, who led IBM during a tough period of financial decline, has decided to step away from her CEO role to become executive chairman before retiring by the end of the year.

IBM on Thursday said that Arvind Krishna (pictured), currently the company's senior vice president for cloud and cognitive software, will take over as CEO, while James Whitehurst, currently senior vice president of IBM and CEO of Red Hat, will move up to become president of IBM.

The executive changes, as well as the addition of Krishna and Whitehurst to IBM's board of directors, are effective April 6.

[Related: IBM Completes $34 Billion Red Hat Acquisition]

IBM did not respond to a CRN request for more information by press time. IBM’s stock rose 4.74 percent in after-hours trading on Thursday to $143.25.

Rometty, in a prepared statement, called Krishna the right CEO for IBM's next era.

"Through his multiple experiences running businesses in IBM, Arvind has built an outstanding track record of bold transformations and proven business results, and is an authentic, values-driven leader. He is well-positioned to lead IBM and its clients into the cloud and cognitive era," she said in that statement.

Rometty also praised Whitehurst as a seasoned leader who positioned Red has the leading open source enterprise IT software solutions and services provider. "[He] has been quickly expanding the reach and benefit of that technology to an even wider audience as part of IBM," she said in her statement.

Rometty in 2012 became IBM's chairman, president, and CEO, and in the last seven-plus years led IBM to acquire 65 companies, including its $34-billion acquisition of Red Hat, and develop strong cloud and AI capabilities.

However, she also presided over a time of financial difficulties for IBM. The company's annual revenue peaked in 2011 at just shy of $107 billion. However, the revenue decline has been moderating, and IBM in the fourth fiscal quarter of 2019 broke a five-quarter streak in revenue declines with revenue of $ 21.8 billion, up 0.1 percent over fourth fiscal quarter 2018.

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