IBM says it is ‘absolutely not’ looking for a new CEO despite swirling rumors that other candidates are being approached by top recruiting firms (IBM)

Ginni Rometty

IBM is absolutely not looking for a new CEO, the company tells Business Insider.
Still, people are talking about a search going on now.
IBM’s current CEO Ginni Rometty is bucking a long-standing tradition at IBM by not retiring at age 60, and her reign has been controversial.
But she seems to be turning the company around and some new employees feel good about the direction, one tells us.

IBM is absolutely not looking for a new CEO, an IBM spokesperson tells Business Insider.

That said, we’ve heard several top executive recruiting firms have been approaching people about throwing their names in the hat, including at least two outsiders and one IBM insider, according to someone knowledgeable of the situation.

Despite these rumblings, IBM spokesman Ed Barbini tells Business Insider that an active CEO search is not happening. “IBM is not looking for a new CEO, and any information to the contrary is absolutely and unequivocally false,” he said.

However, it’s not surprising that people are talking about the search for IBM’s next CEO.

IBM had a long-standing tradition of retiring its CEOs at age 60. Current CEO Ginni Rometty, who is the first woman to hold the job in the company’s 106 years, is 61.

Her predecessor, Sam Palmisano, was universally admired as an excellent CEO. In the run-up to his birthday, many speculated the board would break with tradition and keep him on past 60.

At one point, Palmisano said he was “not going anywhere” and that there was no formal policy at IBM that forced a CEO to retire. And so, when he turned 60 and did indeed announce his retirement, many people were surprised.

Since then about half of IBM’s directors (not including herself) have joined the board under her tenure. So it’s not the same board that oversaw Palmisano’s retirement.

The fact that CEO candidates are being approached does not mean IBM is involved in an active search. Recruiting firms and others could be acting pro-actively, putting together short lists to give themselves an edge should Rometty decide to retire.

A controversial performance

Rometty’s performance has been a controversial subject since she took over as CEO. IBM’s traditional business has been hurt badly by the shift to cloud computing. This shift has caused companies to buy less hardware and software from companies like IBM.

Global revenue at IBM was nearly $107 billion in 2011, the year before Rometty took over. It has steadily declined each year and now hovers around $79 billion, partly because Rometty has sold off poorly performing hardware businesses.

In the meantime, she has invested in and vastly grown IBM’s presence in hot up-and-coming areas, including cloud computing, digital marketing and Watson, IBM’s machine learning/AI services. But that hasn’t been enough to offset the revenue declines in the fading, older businesses. Rometty has spent her whole tenure talking about the company’s painful turnaround, even as she’s shared a hopeful vision for IBM’s leadership in areas like AI and blockchain.

She seems to have finally turned IBM in the right direction, too. When …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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