the stock is trading sharply lower on Friday after the company announced a management reshuffle that included the surprise departure from the company of IBM chairman and former Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst.
IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said in a statement that Whitehurst “has been instrumental in articulating IBM’s strategy, but also in ensuring that IBM and Red Hat work well together and that our platforms and technological innovations offer more value to our customers ”. He will remain a “senior advisor” to the IBM management team.
IBM also announced that Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president of global markets, is stepping down from her current role. She will serve as Senior Vice President of Special Projects for one year, after which she will retire from IBM. She will be replaced in her previous role by Rob Thomas, currently Senior VP of Cloud and Data Platform.
Evercore ISI analyst Amit Daryanani wrote in a research note Friday that the sale of the shares is not surprising, given that Whitehurst is “a well-regarded executive” who has been “instrumental to the company” .
The analyst adds that the announcements “caught investors off guard,” given that Whitehurst was due to stay with IBM after the imminent rotation of Kyndryl, the new name of the company’s independent services firm. “While this is a negative point from a headline perspective, we believe IBM has a strong leadership bench that should allow the company to navigate through key leadership transitions,” writes- he.
IBM is down 4.3%, to $ 140.54.
Write to Eric J. Savitz at [email protected]