Why IBM just lost three key executives

'Keep an eye on these three,' one analyst says

Executives come and go at any large organization, but when the company in question is IBM -- and when it loses three high-ranking executives in a single month -- it's only natural to wonder what's going on.

That, in fact, is just what apparently happened at IBM in December, when it reportedly lost Steve Mills, the 43-year company veteran who was most recently executive vice president of IBM Software and Systems, along with Danny Sabbah, its chief technology officer for cloud, and Brendan Hannigan, general manager of IBM Security.

For the past year, Mills had reported to none other than CEO Ginni Rometty herself.

Were the moves simply a natural progression or a sign of something bigger in the works?

"IBM is losing valuable, experienced executives with the departure of Mills and Sabbah," said Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT.

While both have made considerable contributions to the company's success, they are also well past the typical retirement age of 60 that IBM recommends for senior executives, King pointed out.

"Mills and Sabbah played instrumental roles in the massive reorg that IBM instituted late in 2014," he said. "Now that that process is essentially complete, they can leave the company knowing that their efforts and vision succeeded."

As for Hannigan, "he did a great job with IBM's security organization, both in integrating the numerous acquisitions the company has made in this area and helping to coalesce these technologies into a solid portfolio," King said.

His departure may simply be part of a long-planned corporate strategy.

Hannigan's replacement -- Marc van Zadelhoff, who joined IBM in 2006 via its acquisition of Consul Risk Management -- has long been considered a rising star at the company, King said. "His move into the GM chair means that IBM now has a leader who intimately understands both the company and the complex security industry.

Rob Enderle, principal analyst with Enderle Group, has a different theory about the triple exodus.

"One of the reasons that folks depart together like this is because they have an idea they want to explore outside of the firm," Enderle said. "Every one of these folks would be a huge asset to a smaller firm, and they’d certainly have the combined financial resources to start something interesting."

Bottom line? "Keep an eye on these three," Enderle said. "The fact they left together suggests they have something else they want to do together, and given their powerful skillset, that 'something' could be really interesting."

IBM did not respond to a request for comment.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags IBM

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Katherine Noyes

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

This Holiday Season, protect yourself and your loved ones with the best. Buy now for Holiday Savings!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?