Arvind Krishna: Getting to Know the New IBM President

February 14, 2020 by Luke James

Arvind Krishna has been elected as the new CEO of IBM, succeeding Virginia Rometty who held the role between 2012 and 2020, the first woman to do so.

Arvind Krishna, a technology executive of Indian origin, has been named as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the multinational IT corporation IBM, The International Business Machines Corporation, after a “world-class succession process”. 

Krishna is due to replace IBM’s current CEO, Virginia ‘Ginni’ Rometty, who described him as the “right CEO for the next era at IBM” in April. 


Who is Arvind Krishna?

Krishna, who joined IBM in 1990 and has a degree from the Indian Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was elected by the IBM Board of Directors and currently serves as the company’s Senior Vice President for Cloud and Cognitive Software. 

Krishna’s previous roles at IBM have included working on the world-famous Watson project. He also served as a general manager and senior vice president of several different companies. In 2019, he oversaw IBM’s largest acquisition in its near-110-year history, the $34 billion takeover of open source software giant Red Hat. 


Arvind Krishna, IBM's CEO.

Arvind Krishna, the incoming CEO of IBM. Image Credit: IBM.


"I am thrilled and humbled to be elected as the next Chief Executive Officer of IBM, and appreciate the confidence that Ginni and the Board have placed in me," Krishna said in a press statement.

Krishna said, "IBM has such talented people and technology that we can bring together to help our clients solve their toughest problems."

"I am looking forward to working with IBMers, Red Hatters and clients around the world at this unique time of fast-paced change in the IT industry. We have great opportunities ahead to help our clients advance the transformation of their business while also remaining the global leader in the trusted stewardship of technology," Krishna added.


Ginni Rometty of IBM.

Virginia "Ginni" Rometty. The former CEO of IBM. Image Credit: IBM.


Leading IBM into the Cloud and Cognitive Era

Rometty also described Krishna as being “well-positioned” to lead IBM into the cloud and cognitive era. Rometty’s resignation will mark almost 40 years of service with the company.

She added, "He [Krishna] is a brilliant technologist who has played a significant role in developing our key technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud, quantum computing, and blockchain.”

During her tenure, Rometty has made bold changes to reposition IBM and align it with the future, investing in high-value segments of the TI market and optimizing the company’s portfolio. In her eight-year tenure, Rometty oversaw 65 acquisitions, reinvented over 50% of IBM’s portfolio and built a $21 billion hybrid cloud business, establishing IBM’s dominance in emerging areas of tech such as AI, blockchain, and quantum computing. 

In a statement released by IBM, Rometty described Krishna as “…a superb operational leader, able to win today while building the business of tomorrow.  Arvind has grown IBM's Cloud and Cognitive Software business and led the largest acquisition in the company's history. 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.”