IBM’s New CEO Starts Right Off With A Reorg

Virginia Rometty

All eyes are on IBM’s new CEO Virginia “Ginny” Rometty as she takes the helm this week. She’s wasting no time in setting up her management team.

In a memo to employees issued yesterday, Rometty named Bruno Di Leo as sales chief and Bridget Van Kralingen as head of consulting, reports eWeek.

Both are promotions of internal, well-performing IBMers.

Di Leo was previously the general manager for IBM’s Growth Markets Unit. In the last quarter alone, that unit’s revenue jumped 19 per cent, says eWeek. Di’ Leo has been with IBM since 1975 and he’ll become senior vice president of IBM Sales and Distribution.

Van Kralingen takes over as senior vice president of IBM Global Business Services (GBS), the super important consulting unit. She is replacing Frank Kern who is retiring after a 35-year IBM career. For the past two years, Van Kralingen has been leading IBM’s North America sales and distribution unit, a role that got her named among FORTUNE Magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Women.”

Much is being made of the fact that Rometty is the first women to lead the 100-year-old IBM. But even more importantly, Rometty is taking over for the iconic and highly admired Sam Palmisano, who was consistently called one of best the best CEOs. Those are big shoes to fill for any person, man or woman.

This is a change of leadership due more to IBM’s tradition that employees retire at age 60 than because IBM needed new leadership.

Rometty’s gentle management reorg from within indicates that she’s not making radical changes from the get-go. She also showed that she would stay the course with IBM’s growth-by-acquisition plans. The company announced its first buy under her rule today. But it was the type of company that IBM had been buying in 2011 as part of its vow to spend $20 billion on acquisitions by 2015.