Troubled IBM promotes new UK & Ireland Chief Executive

25 May 2017 3 min. read
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IBM has promoted Bill Kelleher, who has been with the firm since 1997, to the role of Chief Executive of IBM in the UK & Ireland. The change in leadership, effective from 22 May, sees the former holder of the position, David Stokes, become Chief Operating Officer for IBM Europe, as Big Blue seeks to stymie falling revenue.

As IBM attempts to restructure its operations amid concern at falling revenue, the company has promoted its former Global Managing Director of Telecoms, Media & Entertainment Industries, Bill Kelleher to the role of Chief Executive in the UK & Ireland, following predecessor David Stokes’ reassignment to Chief Operating Officer of IBM Europe.

Joining the company in 1997, following IBM’s acquisition of Data Sciences, his employer for the seven years prior; Mr. Kelleher joined the firm as a Services Executive in the Communications Sector. In the first of his succession of promotions, in 1999 he was elevated to the role of Vice President of Strategic Outsourcing for the firm’s operation in Northern Europe.

Before his latest role, Kelleher’s previous positions with IBM were Vice President and Sector Executive EMEA for the Communications Sector, from 2002; Vice President of Strategic Relationship Development for Global Services in the EMEA region, from 2005; Managing Director for the firm’s relationship with the Vodafone Group, for ten years from 2007.

Bill Kelleher - IBM

Trouble Ahead?

The new role, based in IBM’s Southbank offices in London, sees Kelleher’s new role sees him become the company’s Chief Executive in UK & Ireland during a rough spell for the firm, with revenue in a state of continuing decline. Earlier in May, following disappointing results for Big Blue in the first financial quarter, Warren Buffet’s company Berkshire Hathaway sold a third of its massive stake in the company. The renowned investor told CNBC, “IBM is a big strong company, but they’ve got big strong competitors too.”

IBM have failed to grow their top and bottom lines for 21 continuous quarters, and during this turbulent spell have taken to constantly trimming the workforce in a bid to drive down staffing costs and push profit margins back up. The company’s continued cycle of redundancies, along with orders to cut down on remote working and basic travel expenses has left morale low among the workforce. Kelleher has his work cut out then, as not only does he take on some of the firm’s central business responsibilities across two countries, including some of the IBM’s key portfolios, but also responsibility for some 20,000 employees.

As of May 22nd Kelleher inherits the UK & Ireland Chief Executive office from David Stokes who, after four years in the position, is in turn promoted to the role of Chief Operating Officer for IBM Europe. Under Stokes, IBM sales in the UK fell to £3.657bn in 2015, the last full P&L accounts the organisation filed at Companies House. In the same period, operating profit more than halved from £290m to £138m.