As IBM enters 2012, the systems giant has announced a series of management changes focused on strengthening its sales, enhancing its presence in growth markets and bolstering its services business.
In her first acts as CEO of IBM, Virginia Rometty announced the changes on Jan. 3 in a letter to employees. Rometty became IBM's first female CEO in the company's 100 years in business on Jan. 1, 2012.
The new moves include naming Bruno Di Leo as senior vice president of IBM Sales and Distribution. Di Leo, a native of Peru, has most recently served as the general manager for IBM's Growth Markets Unit. IBM's growth markets have posted significant growth of late. In the last quarter, IBM's Growth Markets revenue increased 19 percent, with 40 countries growing by double digits. Di Leo began his career at IBM in 1975 as a software engineer, and he has held several leadership roles around the globe, including assignments as general manager for IBM in Northeast Europe and general manager for the company's Latin American operations.
With growth markets slated as a strategic focus for IBM, Rometty decided to put a senior vice president in charge of it. Indeed, IBM's success in growth markets is one of the linchpins of the company's five-year strategy to add $20 billion in new revenue by 2015. The size and importance of IBM's Growth Markets Unit, which is expected to approach 30 percent of IBM's total revenue by 2015, now merits being led by a senior vice president, IBM said. That person is James Bramante, who will be based in Shanghai.
Bramante was general manager of IBM's operations in Southwest Europe and has 25 years of consulting industry experience, most recently as the leader of IBM's consulting services in the United States and Canada. He served as CFO of PriceWaterhouse Coopers Consulting and was instrumental in the company's integration with IBM. He is the co-author of the book "eCFO Sustaining Value in the New Corporation."
And bringing change in IBM's services business, Bridget Van Kralingen has been named senior vice president of IBM Global Business Services (GBS), IBM's consulting unit. Van Kralingen is a native of South Africa and has led turnarounds in GBS in Northeast Europe, IBM said. Van Kralingen will replace Frank Kern, who is retiring from IBM at the end of January after a 35-year career at IBM. Kern has also led IBM's operations in Asia Pacific prior to running Global Business Services.
For the past two years Van Kralingen has been the general manager for IBM's North America sales and distribution unit, the largest single geography for IBM. Last fall she was listed in FORTUNE Magazine's list of the "50 Most Powerful Women, where she ranked No. 39.
Van Kralingen joined IBM from Deloitte Consulting, where she was managing partner for Financial Services in the United States. She also is a member of the board of directors of the Royal Bank of Canada, and she serves on the advisory board of Catalyst, a nonprofit organization that expands opportunities for women in business.
Growth markets, particularly China, was a key issue in an interview outgoing IBM CEO Samuel Palmisano did with The New York Times, in which Palmisano said IBM sold its PC business unit to Chinese system maker Lenovo as part of a strategy to gain further access in the Chinese market. Now the senior vice president of IBM's Growth Markets unit will be based in Shanghai.