back to article Who is going to run IBM?

There is a tradition, but certainly not a rule, that the person running IBM retires at 60. In years gone by, as one chairman and chief executive was getting ready to retire, an up-and-coming executive from the direct reports to the CEO has been tapped to be president, and thereby anointed next CEO. Sam Palmisano, currently …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Palmisano won't retire quite when you predict

    Surely Mr Palmisano has stated that he will hang on as CEO to celebrate the centenary of IBM's incorporation -- i.e. 2011?

  2. GT
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    Schwartz screwed all value out of Sun.

    Why would that make him well-placed to be the next IBM CEO?

  3. Nick

    Louis V. Gerstner, your time has come....again

    Wouldn't surprise me.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Who cares

    Maybe they should fire up their new patent (decision-making process for off-shoring) and outsource the function. Blah! Mine's the one with the pink slip in it.

  5. Luke
    Thumb Up

    Re: Schwartz screwed all value out of Sun

    Please explain how Schwartz screwed up that Scott McNealy and the banking system collapse didn't? Remember that Sun sat on its laurels for 10 years under McNealy and the banking system collapse took down 10% of Sun's customers.

  6. Luke
    Thumb Up

    Re: Schwartz screwed all value out of Sun.

    How did Schwartz screw up, exactly? His predecessor basically sat on his ass for 10 years, and the banking crisis wiped out 10% of his customers. It took Steve Jobs at least 5 years to be credited with turning Apple around.

    I'm curious about how you formed your opinion of Schwartz.

  7. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Reality check, please!

    Firstly; any ladies on the list are about to meet the ultimate glass ceiling. Given some of the comments that came out of both IBM and Wall Street when Carly Fiorina took over hp, I can't see a woman being accepted any time soon, and then you have what happened to her. Sorry, I just can't see it happening.

    Secondly; you may argue that Schwartz was left the pilot of a plane that McNealy had already burnt the engines out of, but he has done nothing of note to avert the crash, and in many ways he has pointed the nose straight down at the ground. Wall Street will never forget or forgive what has happened during his tenure at Sun, whether he was completley responsible or not. Any suggestion that Schwartz might take over the helm would cause nasty ripples on Wall Street.

    Thirdly; everyone knows that once he's finished playing butcher at hp, Hurd will inevitably move on to do the same at IBM. Tremble in fear, IBMers!

  8. GT
    Thumb Down

    Schwartz screwed all value out of Sun.

    I worked for Sun for several years. McNealy, who is a very nice guy btw, lost the plot after 2000. The problem with Schwartz is that he "completed McNealy's sentences" (using the terminology at the press conference where Scott announced that Jonathan was taking over.)

    There are some very talented people at Sun. Schwartz simply isn't one of them. There's no sign whatsoever of Sun turning around under his leadership and IBM wouldn't consider him for a second.

  9. SynnerCal

    @Reality check, please!

    Knew this must be April 1st - two postings by Matt Bryant I agree with. :p Nice one fella!

    Seriously though, can't see Hurd ever getting in at IBM - his attitude and IBM's seems diametrically opposite. IBM claim that they value their employees and losing their 'human assets' is a last resort - heck their management _seem_ ashamed when those pink slips are issued. Oh and they definitely understand the services business - IGS wouldn't be #1 in the market otherwise.

    Compare with Hurd - his ideal company has four folks in it - him, his PA, the security guard and one (very overworked) employee. Employee's aren't 'assets' they're 'overhead' - and one to be reduced/removed soonest. Oh, and he definitely _doesn't_ understand the services biz - to his one brain cell, it's only about shifting iron and not about acquiring profits through acquiring customers (sorry if I sound like a Star Trek Ferrengi). Apologies to any HPer's out there - HP as a company I'm pretty pleased with, it's just the clueless top managers that I despise with a passion.

    Not sure el Schwartz would be a good fit for IBM - server division chief - yes, overall chief - no. If the board's got sense then they'll pick someone who's been brought up through the ranks, and therefore knows the IBM 'culture'.

    Interesting times ahead - wonder if there's any jobs going. ;) Coat icon because mine is the one with a c.v. in it.

  10. Anonymous Coward


    I'll do it

  11. Ian Michael Gumby

    Too funny! But the answer is Steve Mills.

    Sure Mills is a little long in the tooth.

    But he'll continue to screw up IBM as Sam is currently doing. With IBM's current movement to offshore everything, like most offshore projects, IBM is doomed to fail.

    IBM will suck itself dry and collapse after the two years are up and Sam has retired.

    Seriously the day Sam P retires, short the blue pig.

    Then after Steve Mills who knows... Since IBM now claims that the bulk of their revenue comes from outside of the US, then you can expect that the next leader of IBM to come from outside the US.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Moffat is top of the list

    The CEO position is about revenue growth and profitability. Bob is perfect for the job.

    After he Buys Sun and turns that nightmare into a profitable business he will be CEO.

    Steve is doing great in SWG and IBM cannot afford to move him out of that focus. Technologist are not the fit for CEO so that rules out many. Another criteria is you have to be tough so that leaves out the ladies...sorry....Linda and Ginni are great people.

    PTB (ponytail boy) will be fired..."pursue own interests" when IBM buys Sun. He is not even involved in the buyout...SEA and KKR are doing the work.

    Scott does not want his baby to disappear but he is the real reason the ship sank...and his mini-me was another one of his mistakes.

  13. Pelton Baltic

    Products rock under Schwartz

    Sorry, but look at what Sun's produced over Schwartz's tenure... their x86 systems rock and roll, ZFS is killer, Java looks it's finally minting money, even Niagara is giving SPARC something to be proud of. He got software growing, too - and even made what I think is the best acquisition in the company's history, MySQL. Every developer I know uses something Sun delivers - so he obviously reestablished the relevancy that was pissed away under McNeely.

    So if you're going to blame the guy for tanking the stock, it's down less than 50% since he took over, while NASDAQ's down 50% just in the last year. The people who dislike Jonathan are all the folks he had to lay off because McNealy never held people accountable. I for one give him props for trying to save Sun.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    May the Schwartz Be With You

    To quote Mel Brooks from the Spaceballs movie - May the Schwartz Be With You IBM - live long and prosper!!!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    LVG wrongly credited

    I was a long term IBMer and L V G did not turn the company around, all the actions were in place when he arrived. J R Opel had started the whole process. LVG just stood and took the credit, he could not do much else as he knew absolutely nothing about the IT business. Thats why he never stood up and gave any pitches on the technology or futures unless someone scripted them for him. Thats why he never took questions on that sort of pitch. He could do the content free blue sky business pitch to perfection. Luckily he had a good team of managers in place to sort it all for him.

  16. Man Outraged


    There's a typo in the title - you missed an 'i' out between the 'u' and the 'n' resulting in the word "run"

  17. GT

    Schwartz and LVG

    Schwartz took over Sun in 2004. Corporate profits since then have been dire, as they were beorehand. He has to be paid and employed even based on P&L, not on whatever cute technology he has acquired - his job is to make money for the shareholders. I no longer work for Sun, but I wasn't laid off and don't have an agenda here. I just suggest you look at the financial facts.

    On Lou Gerstner, fact is he did turn IBM around. Before he arrived, the plan was to break IBM into distinct companies. The planning was pretty advanced in some areas - e.g. the storage division was going to be AdStar (ADvanced STorage And Retrieval). Gerstner turned that around, as well as several other bad ideas. His predecessor, John Akers, was a good guy but like McNealy at Sun he wasn't able to move with the times.

  18. Otto Responder
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    Moffat's an idiot.

    Laying off revenue-producing employees so he can ship the jobs overseas? He's a total moron.

  19. CTG

    @Moffat is top of the list

    "Another criteria is you have to be tough so that leaves out the ladies...sorry....Linda and Ginni are great people."

    You've obviously never worked for Ginni, then. She is a very smart, and very tough, lady. It would not surprise me at all if Ginni got the job.

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