IBM CEO Ginni Rometty is stepping down, Arvind Krishna to take over

Key Points
  • Ginni Rometty has been executive chairman, president and CEO since 2012.
  • Rometty has been at IBM for almost four decades; the next one has been there for three decades.
Rometty steps down, IBM names Arvind Krishna new CEO
Rometty steps down, IBM names Arvind Krishna new CEO

IBM shares jumped as much as 5% on Thursday after the company said Arvind Krishna is becoming its 10th CEO, replacing Virginia "Ginni" Rometty. The change is effective on April 6, according to a statement.

Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat's former CEO, is becoming IBM's president, the company said. IBM completed its $34 billion Red Hat acquisition in July.

Rometty, 62, became IBM president and CEO on January 1, 2012, replacing Sam Palmisano. Earlier she had responsibilities in sales, marketing and strategy. Rometty studied computer science and electrical engineering at Northwestern University.

Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM, speaking at the Business Roundtable CEO Innovation Summit in Washington, DC on Dec. 6th, 2018. 
Janhvi Bhojwani | CNBC

Her official biography on IBM's website credits her with leading "the successful integration of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting, creating a global team of more than 100,000 business consultants and services experts."

Under Rometty, IBM made cloud services a bigger priority, and it exited some businesses, including the low-end server unit it sold to Lenovo in 2014. At the same time the company has stuck around in core markets like mainframe computers and database software.

During her tenure as CEO IBM's stock has fallen about 26%, while the S&P 500 has grown 160%. In 2018 Rometty's total compensation exceeded $17.5 million, according to the company's most recent proxy statement.

Rometty will remain the company's executive chairman through the end of the year, IBM said, when she will retire after joining in 1981.

SVP and Director at IBM Research Arvind Krishna speak on stage during the 2016 Wired Business Conference on June 16, 2016 in New York City.
Brian Ach | Getty Images

Krishna, 57, is one of IBM's top executives, having joined the company in 1990. He's currently IBM's senior vice president for cloud and cognitive software. Krishna worked on the Red Hat acquisition. Earlier in his time at the company Krishna worked on security software and information management, and he is a co-author of 15 patents, according to a biography on IBM's website.

In a release, Rometty described Krishna as a "brilliant technologist who has played a significant role in developing our key technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud, quantum computing and blockchain" as well as a "superb operational leader."