IBM turns to technologist chief for cloud computing battle

IBM became the latest big US tech company to employ that maxim on Thursday as it announced that Arvind Krishna, a 30-year veteran of the company whose career has included key technical and research roles, would take over as its chief executive in April.

Mr Krishna’s elevation echoes the rise of Satya Nadella at Microsoft and Shantanu Narayen at Adobe — and not just because they, too, were Indian-born engineers who took over at prominent US tech companies that were going through a midlife crisis.

IBM technology

Both also followed in the footsteps of executives who had risen in non-technical roles, before going on to carve out a new technology path that helped make their companies Wall Street darlings.

In contrast to Mr Krishna — an engineer trained at the Indian Institute of Technology and the University of Illinois and has 15 patents to his name — outgoing chief executive Ginni Rometty forged a career in sales and general management. Her elevation, at the start of 2012, appeared to coincide with a moment of technological stability.

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