Jan 30, 2020 - Technology

Ginni Rometty out as IBM CEO

Photo: Mike Cohen/Getty Images for the New York Times

IBM announced that Arvind Krishna, who heads the company's cloud unit, will replace Ginni Rometty as CEO in April.

Why it matters: The move comes as a surprise, with Rometty having just recently held court in Davos, unveiling a new call for targeted AI regulation.

  • The company also named Jim Whitehurst, CEO of recently acquired Red Hat, to be IBM's president, effective in April.
  • Rometty, who has spent 40 years at IBM and eight years as CEO, will serve as executive chairman until year's end and then retire.

Between the lines: Krishna, a 30-year IBM veteran, was a key driver of the Red Hat acquisition and has been leading the company's effort to grow its position in cloud computing, where Microsoft, Amazon and Google have been the leaders.

  • During Rometty's tenure, IBM forged close ties with the Trump administration, acquired 65 companies (most notably the $34 billion purchase of Red Hat), and pushed the company into quantum computing, blockchain and other areas. Krishna helped lead a number of those initiatives.

Investors reacted positively to the moves, sending shares up more than 4% in after-hours trading.

Editor's note: The headline was changed to spell Ginni's first name correctly.

Go deeper

How tech leaders used Davos this year

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

DAVOS, Switzerland — Tech leaders once were given a free pass (literally and figuratively) as the young darlings of Davos, but they're now the established leaders, with a heightened role as well as added scrutiny.

  • While U.S.-China tensions were high on tech leaders' list, they also came to push their points on climate change, antitrust and AI regulation.
Go deeperArrowJan 25, 2020

How Big Tech used Davos in 2020

Facebook's pop-up location last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Photo: Ina Fried/Axios

While tech leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, had U.S.-China tensions top of mind, they also came looking to push their perspectives on climate change, antitrust and regulation of artificial intelligence.

Why it matters: Whereas once tech leaders were given a free pass (literally and figuratively) as the young darlings of Davos, they are now established leaders with heightened roles — and sharper scrutiny.

Go deeperArrowJan 27, 2020

Slack shares whipsaw amid confusion over IBM contract

Photo: Slack

Slack shares soared and trading in the workplace collaboration company was briefly halted on Monday, after a report stating the company had landed IBM as its biggest-ever customer.

Yes, but: The thing is, IBM was already Slack's largest customer and has been for a couple of years. In an SEC filing, Slack said IBM has been adding additional Slack licenses over time and that it is not changing its financial forecast for the current quarter.