Nicola Hodson first woman CEO of IBM UK and Ireland

16 January 2023 3 min. read
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IBM has poached one of Microsoft’s most senior global executives to drive its UK and Ireland business. Nicola Hodson will now take on the CEO position of IBM in the UK and Ireland – the first time a woman has held the position.

Ana Paula Assis, Chair and General Manager of IBM Europe, Middle East and Africa, commented, “Nicola is an accomplished leader with an enviable wealth of senior-level experience in the IT industry and a deep understanding of challenges facing the C-suite. The UK and Ireland business is a critical growth and innovation engine for IBM and her strong track record in leading change will help drive sustained growth for our clients and our business.”

IBM has been undergoing a series of major changes in recent years. Amid rocky financial results at the firm nicknamed Big Blue, a massive reorganisation of its resources has been taking place. This has seen contentious layoffs, as well as the roll-out of new brand identities like IBM Consulting, to help the company become more competitive.

Nicola Hodson, CEO, IBM UK and Ireland

Leading IBM in the UK and Ireland as it looked to play its part in these changes, was Sreeram Visvanathan. Appointed as CEO in 2020, the move capped a two-decade career with IBM, having joined the firm in 2002 when it bought up PwC’s global consulting practice.

Following three years at the helm, Visvanathan has announced his departure from IBM – triggering a process to name his successor. And IBM has pulled off quite a coup to fill his shoes, with the announcement that Nicola Hodson will take on the UK and Ireland CEO role.

Hodson joins from Microsoft, where she was most recently Vice President of Customer & Partner Solutions, Transformation, and a member of its global leadership team for commercial business. Initially, Hodson joined Microsoft in 2008, leading the technology giant’s UK Public Sector business, before shifting four years later to become its UK Chief Operating Officer. She also previously spent time as a Management Consultant with EY.

“IBM has incredible relevance in the market and I am excited to lead the UK and Ireland business and to work with such a talented team,” commented Hodson. “This is a make-or-break time for all companies and organisations as they move at pace to transform, to adopt new technologies and business models and to deliver on their sustainability ambitions. IBM technology and consulting capabilities in hybrid cloud and AI are helping clients to accelerate their critical transformation journeys.”

As the first woman to head up IBM UK and Ireland, Hodson will now look to help clients in critical industries to leverage technologies like AI, automation and hybrid cloud, while being responsible for IBM’s UK and Ireland business operations, driving revenue growth, client satisfaction and employee engagement. At the same time, she will remain Deputy President of trade association techUK, a position which sees her plugged into UK private sector and UK government digital strategy – while also holding Non-Executive Director roles at Beazley, Drax and Bramble Energy.