Engineering alumnus named new IBM CEO

By Aliza Majid, Staff Writer

University alumnus Arvind Krishna will be replacing Virginia Rometty as the new CEO of IBM at the end of this year. Previously, Krishna was the vice president for database services at IBM and has been working for the company since 1990. 

“He has been rising quickly within IBM, and over half the company was under him before the promotion,” said Bruce Hajek, department head and professor in Engineering.

IBM is an enterprise technology company that supplies critical computing equipment to service a variety of businesses. Previously, the managerial positions did not have a technical background. As a result, IBM remained stagnant for the past few years, but with Krishna’s experience with technology, there is opportunity for improvement.

“I really hope that with his combination of his technology and business expertise, that he will be able to take IBM to the next level,” said Wen-Mei Hwu, professor in Engineering and director of C3SR.

C3SR is a collaboration between IBM research and the University to resolve issues concerning cognitive computing and artificial intelligence.

“In 2016, we set up the IBM Illinois Center for Cognitive Computing Systems Research, and Arvind was the driving force behind it … so right now every year, I will meet with Arvind to discuss the achievements of the center and the future plans,” Hwu said.

Hwu has said with the company’s influential background and past alumni currently working at IBM, the University wanted to have a stronger relationship with the company. 

Having a strong connection between the University and IBM had been a goal for many years, but in 2016, this idea became a reality, with Krishna acting as the main driving force for the movement.

The C3SR center has allowed the company to expand its roots into the University, and Krishna frequently visits in order to check up on things as the executive sponsor for the center.

Krishna said he believes connecting with students is vital to move forward in the world. As a result, he visits the University often to see if there are students who would like his guidance. 

“He really cares about students,” Hwu said. “Every time students invite him to do something, he would always accept, which is something I have always been impressed with.”  

According to Hwu, Krishna did not come from an affluent family and persevered through his life to get to where he is today. Krishna encourages students to pursue their future endeavors and work through their hardships. 

“He has a very high moral standard and (is) very supportive of the people around him,” Hajek said.

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