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IBM CEO Ginni Rometty steps down

Arvind Krishna takes over from the company's first female leader, ending her 39-year career with IBM

IBM has promoted Arvind Krishna to CEO after Ginni Rometty announced she was stepping down from the role and will retire at the end of the year. 

The change marks the end of a 39-year career for Rometty, eight of which were at the top as its CEO. She will stay on as executive chairman of the board until the end of the year before retiring. Red Hat's Jim Whitehurst will replace Rometty as the company's president.

In a statement, Rometty said that Krishna and Whitehurst were a "proven technical and business-savvy leadership team".

"Arvind has grown IBM's Cloud and Cognitive Software business and led the largest acquisition in the company's history," Rometty said. "He is well-positioned to lead IBM and its clients into the cloud and cognitive era."

"Jim is also a seasoned leader who has positioned Red Hat as the world's leading provider of open source enterprise IT software solutions and services, and has been quickly expanding the reach and benefit of that technology to an even wider audience as part of IBM."

Virginia 'Ginni' Rometty's career at IBM started in 1981 as a systems analyst. She spent her first ten years working in many technical positions and went on to led the integration of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting. She spent the 1990's working in sales before taking on a number of leadership roles in the next decade.

On New Year's Day 2012, Rometty became IBM's ninth CEO as well as its first female chief executive. During her time at the helm, the company set up a number of partnerships with the likes of AppleSAP and Box, reportedly taking it into higher-growth areas such as cloud and AI.

"Ginni has provided outstanding leadership for IBM, substantially transforming the company and ushering in a new cloud and cognitive era," said Michael Eskew, lead director of IBM's Board. "She has taken bold strategic actions to reposition IBM for the future, shedding businesses and growing new units organically and through acquisition, all while achieving record diversity and employee engagement and setting the industry standard for responsible technology ethics and data stewardship."

She steps down as CEO with the company recently reporting its first-quarter growth since 2018, fueled largely by its cloud division.

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