International Business Machines Corporation has named IITian Arvind Krishna as chief executive officer, replacing longtime CEO Virginia Rometty. Mr Krishna, 57, who spearheaded the Red Hat deal, will take over in April.
Mr Krishna joined IBM in 1990 and has an undergraduate degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and a PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
IBM will likely continue its trajectory under Mr Krishna, but may pursue more small acquisitions in the cloud and analytics space, said Tim Hubbard, assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame and a former IBM consultant.
Ms Rometty will step aside on April 6 but will continue as the executive chairman till the end of the year, when she will retire after almost 40 years with the company, IBM said in a statement Thursday.
Since taking over at IBM in 2012, Ms Rometty, 62, has emphasized cloud computing and artificial intelligence through the Watson program.
IBM credited Ms Rometty with reinventing more than 50 percent of IBM's portfolio following acquisitions of 65 companies and extensive in-house research and development efforts.
The company was a late entrant to the business of cloud services, a segment now dominated by Amazon.com Inc and Microsoft Corp , and Ms Rometty, a 40-year IBM veteran and one of the highest profile women in U.S
During her eight years at the helm, the Big Blue completed 65 acquisitions, culminating in the $34 billion deal for Red Hat last year - the biggest purchase in its 108-year history - while selling some of its legacy businesses.
Arvind Krishna's appointment as head of the global IT giant adds to the growing list of Indian-origin executives at the helm of some of the biggest multinational companies. Mr Krishna joins the club that includes Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga, PepsiCo's former CEO Indra Nooyi and Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen.