IBM Leadership Changes: Jim Whitehurst Stepping Down

July 2, 2021

July 2, 2021 — In a blog post, Arvind Krishna, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, IBM, shared news of leadership changes in the company. The blog post is included in full below.


Our hybrid cloud and AI strategy is strongly resonating with clients. I believe we are at a watershed moment in our journey. As the world begins to reopen, IBM has a unique opportunity to be positioned for a new and exciting era of growth, continue to accelerate the rate and pace of execution of our strategy, and strengthen our client-centric culture and our ability to provide technical expertise.

To that end, we are announcing a series of important leadership changes effective immediately:

  • Jim Whitehurst has played a pivotal role in the IBM and Red Hat integration. In the almost three years since the acquisition was announced, Jim has been instrumental in articulating IBM’s strategy, but also, in ensuring that IBM and Red Hat work well together and that our technology platforms and innovations provide more value to our clients. Jim has decided to step down as IBM President, however I am pleased he will continue working as Senior Advisor to me and the rest of the Executive Leadership Team as we continue to evolve our business.
  • When I became CEO, Bridget van Kralingen agreed to stay to help ensure my transition went well. She has now decided to step down from her current role as Senior Vice President, Global Markets. I support her decision and thank Bridget for the work she has done to build a stronger company that is more responsive to our clients’ needs, including launching our new go-to-market strategy, implementing our sales cloud and changing our sales structure. She has also been a champion of diversity, chairing our LGBT+ and Women’s initiatives. Bridget will remain Senior Vice President, Special Projects for a year at which time she will retire from IBM.
  • Rob Thomas will become Senior Vice President, Global Markets. Rob has proven himself to be an exemplary leader and technology visionary. He has led various parts of our business such as data and AI, hardware, services, and software. He has also spent time outside the United States, including living in Tokyo when he led business development in the Asia-Pacific region. Rob is the right leader to deliver what our clients need, especially as our new go-to-market strategy kicks into high gear.
  • Tom Rosamilia will become Senior Vice President, Cloud and Cognitive Software. Tom has extensive experience within IBM. Most recently, his strong track record of success includes leading our systems business and achieving solid business results. Tom is no stranger to software. During his tenure, he has held several leadership roles, including as General Manager of WebSphere and leading products for the database business.
  • Join me in welcoming Ric Lewis as our new Senior Vice President of Systems. Ric has a stellar reputation in the industry. He led significant portions of Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s hybrid IT business spanning hardware systems, VLSI, software and cloud. For over three decades, he has helped drive a wide range of breakthroughs in the world of enterprise servers. Our systems business is an important source of differentiation for our clients and our hybrid cloud platform. As a gifted technologist and business leader, Ric will use his rich experience and expertise to take Systems to new heights.
  • Kelly Chambliss has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Americas and Strategic Sales, Global Business Services. Kelly will bring her extensive leadership experience and deep strategic and operational expertise to her new role. In this position, she will lead global strategic sales and continue her leadership of our Americas business.
  • Roger Premo will lead a newly constituted business development team, which integrates corporate strategy and will report to Jim Kavanaugh.
  • Bob Lord will continue in his role as Senior Vice President, Worldwide Ecosystems and report directly to me.

Bringing value to our clients is—and must continue to be—our north star. For our clients as well as for IBM, our technology platform and services serve as an important driver of business growth. With these changes, I am confident that IBM will be in a stronger position to help our clients and our business thrive.

I look forward to continuing the critical work that we do for business and society around the world with this exceptional leadership team.


Source: Arvind Krishna, IBM

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