Palmisano confirmed as Gerstner's successor at IBM

Now that the board of directors of International Business Machines (IBM) has formally elected Samuel Palmisano as the CEO to succeed Louis Gerstner, a markedly different management style is about to reveal itself to the outside world.

Analysts and observers alike say the timing and differences in leadership are just what IBM needs as it continues to remake itself along with the rapidly changing technology industry.

"I wish there was a softer word but (Gerstner's) style is more of an 'intimidative' style than Palmisano's," says Tom Bittman, vice president and lead analyst covering IBM for technology research firm Gartner Group.

Immediately, Gerstner went to work on cost-cutting measures and holding divisions accountable. "Executives who could not keep commitments were removed. Products and entire organizations that could not meet financial goals were eliminated. IBM today is very focused on corporate synergy and fiscal responsibility."

Bittman says Palmisano's challenge will be to gradually increase IBM's investment in creating new technologies and standards, and in taking more risks in technologies that may fail.

News source: Silicon Alley News

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