IBM Makes Key Executive Changes, Taps Rob Thomas as Chief Commercial Officer

It's new leadership for IBM Software as 40-year veteran Tom Rosamilia plans to retire.

Jeffrey Schwartz

January 6, 2023

4 Min Read
Time for Change

IBM is making some top leadership changes, led by the promotion of Rob Thomas to chief commercial officer. Chairman and CEO Arvind Krishna on Thursday announced several executive changes including the retirement of 40-year company veteran Tom Rosamilia.

The leadership updates come just one day after the launch of IBM’s new Partner Plus program.


IBM’s Tom Rosamilia

Rosamilia, most recently senior VP of IBM Software, will retire on June 30. During the next six months, he will serve as Krishna’s senior advisor, working on specific client and partner engagements. Besides IBM Software, Rosamilia has led various groups, including IBM Systems, corporate strategy, mainframe and the company’s Power systems.

Earlier in his tenure, Rosamilia was general manager of IBM’s WebSphere portfolio and held various product development roles.

Here’s our list of channel people on the move in December.

“Tom has been a key leader with a strong track record of success across software and systems, holding many high-profile leadership roles and delivering outstanding business results,” Krishna wrote in a post announcing several executive moves.

New IBM Software Leadership


IBM’s Rob Thomas

Notably, Rosamilia’s retirement set the stage for Rob Thomas to lead the IBM software business. Thomas, a 23-year IBM veteran, was senior VP of IBM Software before his most recent role overseeing IBM Global Markets. In addition, Krishna has promoted Thomas to chief commercial officer.

Krishna said the following three executives would support Thomas:

  • Kareem Yusuf takes over as senior VP of product management and growth for the software portfolio. “Kareem’s vast technical experience includes leading our AI applications business with a focus on enabling clients to leverage intelligent insights to transform their operations,” Krishna noted. Also, Yusuf will lead IBM’s sustainability software business and the corporate environmental affairs team.

  • Dinesh Nirmal becomes senior VP of software products. User insights provided by Yusuf’s team will support Nirmal’s new organization. Krishna said Nirmal “brings his strong leadership in data and analytics transformation, leading strategy and execution for technologies spanning AI-powered automation, machine learning, analytics at the edge, open source and database.”

  • Sebastian Krause, who led the transformation of IBM’s technology go-to-market organization, is now senior VP and chief revenue officer. Krause will oversee product and technical sales, enablement, client success and digital sales organizations. Also, Krause will lead IBM’s geography sales, global industries and client engineering organizations.

Executive Leadership Team

IBM also named the three, who now report to Thomas, as members of IBM’s executive leadership team (ELT).


IBM’s Arvind Krishna

“These changes help drive greater alignment across our software and go-to-market efforts to further our growth strategy,” Krishna said. “The software team will focus more on engineering and product management, with the various branches that make up this segment being more connected and working better together. The technology sales team will continue to play a critical role in driving sales for our infrastructure segment.”

Furthermore, Krishna said Howard Boville, SVP of the IBM Cloud platform, will also lead IBM Technology Lifecycle Services (TLS). Boville will now report to Ric Lewis, now senior VP of infrastructure.

IBM also has promoted Paul Papas to senior VP of IBM Consulting, Americas. Papas will join the executive leadership team and continue reporting to senior VP of IBM Consulting, John Granger.

Alex Stern Returns as SVP of Strategy, M&A


IBM’s Alex Stern

In another personnel move, Krishna announced the return of Alex Stern, who will become senior VP of strategy and mergers and acquisitions. Stern, who started his career at IBM, will also lead the company’s investor relations organization. He spent the past 28 years at Lazard, where he most recently was president.

Stern will assume his new role on January 23 and report to Krishna on strategy. On other matters, he will report to CFO Jim Kavanaugh. According to Krishna, Stern worked closely with IBM at Lazard on various transactions, including the Red Hat acquisition and divestiture of Kyndryl.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Jeffrey Schwartz or connect with him on LinkedIn.


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About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.

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