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IBM India: New IBM CEO Arvind Krishna starts up with culture shift

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India-born chief executive of IBM Arvind Krishna has called for building a entrepreneurial mindset among employes in the the over 109 year old organisation as he takes over the top job at a crucial juncture where technology spend has come to a standstill due to disruption in daily life across countries due to spread of Covid-19.

“Culture is everything. It’s what drives capability in any organization. One of my key priorities will be fostering an entrepreneurial mindset across our business,” wrote Krishna in a letter to employees after he took over as CEO on Monday.

“ This is about being nimble, pragmatic and aiming for speed over elegance. And, it’s about being comfortable with ambiguity and continuously adapting to shifting circumstances. All of this also needs to be complemented by a growth mindset,” Krishna wrote

Satya Nadella, the Indian-born chief executive of Microsoft had focused on building the growth mindset – being transparent and focusing on partnerships to revive the growth of the company and help it reach a market cap of over $ 1 trillion.

Krishna, who drove the acquisition of RedHat, the open source cloud platform company for IBM, is betting on the cloud to revive fortunes of IBM, a company that has struggled to grow over the last few years.

Highlighting specific actions for the future, Krishna said IBM employees need to make use of the company’s sources of competitive advantage.

“Namely, our open source and security leadership, our deep expertise and trust, and the fact that we enable clients to build mission-critical applications once and run them anywhere. Second, we have to win the architectural battle in cloud. There’s a unique window of opportunity for IBM and Red Hat to establish Linux, containers and Kubernetes as the new standard,” he said.

Alluding the coronavirus outbreak and IBM’s role in such a critical health crisis worldwide, Krishna said “if there’s one thing that this crisis has brought to light is the ever essential role of IBM in the world”. “We are the backbone of some of the most critical systems of the world.”

Kishna has also announced a few leadership changes at the helm. Jim Whitehurst, in his new role as president, will head IBM Strategy as well as the Cloud and Cognitive Software unit; while Bridget van Kralingen will become senior vice president of Global Markets.

While Paul Cormier will become the CEO of Red Hat; Howard Boville will join IBM from Bank of America on May 1 to become senior vice-president of Cloud Platform and oversee the IBM Cloud.

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