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IBM CEO to Take Over as Company Chairman

By Eric Volkman - Dec 17, 2020 at 5:27PM

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As with the CEO post, Arvind Krishna will replace the outgoing Virginia Rometty in this new role.

IBM ( IBM -0.02% ) CEO Arvind Krishna is about to add another heavyweight job title to the nameplate on his door. The veteran tech company announced Wednesday that he has been elected the chairman of the company's board, effective Jan. 1.

The move comes nearly one year after Krishna won another crucial company vote -- the one naming him CEO. This poll took place in January, and he formally ascended to the position in early April, at the same time taking a seat on the board. As CEO then, and as chairman on Jan. 1, he succeeds the retiring Virginia Rometty. Her departure from the board was announced at the start of this year.

Interior of the IBM Q computation center with one employee in mid-stride.

Image source: IBM.

Generally speaking, as far as management goes, IBM has been a fairly conservative and cautious company. Even though its roots go back to 1911, it has only had 10 CEOs in its history. Prior to her departure, Rometty had served in the role since 2012.

As for Krishna, he is an executive of very long standing at the company. He joined it in 1990 and was at the forefront of several of its important moves in recent years.

IBM describes him as "a principal architect" of the massive, $34 billion deal for software company Red Hat that closed in 2019 -- the company's largest acquisition to date. He was also deeply involved in the coming spin-off of IBM's managed-infrastructure business, which should occur next year.

While the news about Krishna wasn't particularly unexpected, it should reassure investors that the leadership transition is basically continuing smoothly. The incoming chairman, after all, is an old company hand.

That said, IBM's shares traded flat on Thursday in contrast to the nearly 0.6% gain of the S&P 500 index.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis – even one of our own – helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

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