IBM CEO Ginni Rometty is to retire from the day-to-day running of the multinational firm.

Rometty, who took the role in 2012 and has spent 39 years at the American company, will keep the role of Executive Chairman of its board.

Arvind Krishna, IBM’s Senior Vice President for Cloud and Cognitive Software, will take over the CEO role on April 6th. Krishna was a principal architect of the company's acquisition of open source company Red Hat.

Jim Whitehurst, IBM Senior Vice President and CEO of Red Hat, has been elected IBM President.

Rometty, 62, became Chairman, President and CEO of IBM in 2012. She repositioned IBM by acquiring 65 companies, building a $21 billion hybrid cloud business and establishing IBM's presence in AI, quantum computing and blockchain.

"Arvind is the right CEO for the next era at IBM," said Rometty. "He is a brilliant technologist who has played a significant role in developing our key technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud, quantum computing and blockchain.

“He is also a superb operational leader, able to win today while building the business of tomorrow. Arvind has grown IBM's Cloud and Cognitive Software business and led the largest acquisition in the company's history.

“Through his multiple experiences running businesses in IBM, Arvind has built an outstanding track record of bold transformations and proven business results, and is an authentic, values-driven leader. He is well-positioned to lead IBM and its clients into the cloud and cognitive era.

"Jim is also a seasoned leader who has positioned Red Hat as the world's leading provider of open source enterprise IT software solutions and services, and has been quickly expanding the reach and benefit of that technology to an even wider audience as part of IBM.

"In Arvind and Jim, the Board has elected a proven technical and business-savvy leadership team."

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Krishna, 57, said: "I am thrilled and humbled to be elected as the next Chief Executive Officer of IBM, and appreciate the confidence that Ginni and the Board have placed in me.

"IBM has such talented people and technology that we can bring together to help our clients solve their toughest problems. I am looking forward to working with IBMers, Red Hatters and clients around the world at this unique time of fast-paced change in the IT industry.

“We have great opportunities ahead to help our clients advance the transformation of their business while also remaining the global leader in the trusted stewardship of technology. Jim will be a great partner in the next step of this journey."