Jim Whitehurst stands down as IBM president

The former Red Hat CEO spent just 14 months in the role

IBM president and former Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst has decided to step down, following a spell of just 14 months in the role. 

Whitehurst joined the tech giant as part of its $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat back in 2018, having played a "pivotal role" in the integration. 

Announcing the shock decision, IBM did not give up the reasons for Whitehurst’s sudden departure, but the firm did reveal that he will continue as a senior advisor to chairman and CEO Arvind Krishna.

"In the almost three years since the acquisition was announced, Jim has been instrumental in articulating IBM's strategy, but also, in ensuring that IBM and Red Hat work well together and that our technology platforms and innovations provide more value to our clients," Krishna said in a statement.

"Jim has decided to step down as IBM President, however I am pleased he will continue working as senior advisor to me and the rest of the Executive Leadership Team as we continue to evolve our business."

Following IBM’s Red Hat acquisition, Ginni Rometty called time on her stint as IBM CEO back in April 2020, with Krishna subsequently taking the reins.

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He then appointed former Red Hat CEO Whitehurst on his first day in the role, leading many industry observers to view him as Krishna’s heir apparent.

At the time of Krishna’s appointment as CEO, he also announced that Bridget van Kralingen had agreed to stay on to ensure a smooth leadership transition.

She has now also decided to step down from her current role as senior vice president of Global Markets, replaced by Rob Thomas. However, she will remain SVP of Special Projects for a year before which time she will retire from IBM. 

Elsewhere, IBM announced a host of other leadership changes. Among them, the company confirmed that Tom Rosamilia will become SVP of Cloud and Cognitive Software, while Ric Lewis takes on the role of SVP of Systems. 

"I believe we are at a watershed moment in our journey," Krishna said. "As the world begins to reopen, IBM has a unique opportunity to be positioned for a new and exciting era of growth, continue to accelerate the rate and pace of execution of our strategy, and strengthen our client-centric culture and our ability to provide technical expertise.”

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