IBM replace Big Blue Lou

As of March 1 current president and chief operating officer, Sam Palmisano, will take over from Lou Gerstner as CEO if IBM

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  January 30, 2002

IBM has announced who is to replace its reclusive chairman and chief executive, Lou Gerstner. As of March 1 current president and chief operating officer, Sam Palmisano, will become CEO while Gerstner remains chairman through to the end of 2002.

Palmisano steps up to the plate with a strong reputation and Gerstner’s full backing. As head of IBM Global Services, for example, Palmisano grew the business unit's revenues nearly 30% to $32.2 billion. The future CEO also played a key role in Big Blue’s eServer product line launch and the associated Linux drive.

“He has made it both his personal mission and that of IBM to become the number one competitor in each of these markets. Sam's unique mix of strategic vision, passion and discipline, combined with his intimate understanding of IBM, make him the right person to become IBM's next CEO," commented Gerstner.

Palmisano, who is “truly excited to lead IBM in this next chapter of what already is an impressive era,” has a tough act to follow as Gerstner is credited with bringing IBM back from its darkest days, growing Big Blue’s market value by $180 billion and increasing the company's share price by more than 800%.

“He will leave a significant legacy," stated Palmisano.

While all eyes were understandably focused on the Sam and Lou show, IBM vice chairman, John Thompson, announced his plans to retire from the company and board on September 1.

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