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Kyndryl, the artist formerly known as IBM's Global Technology Services, names 10-person board

Will someone make the redundancies stop?

Kyndryl, the IT infrastructure services division IBM is getting shot of this year, has named its first board of directors in an effort to convert a shrinking sales entity into something more sustainable.

Martin Schroeter, an IBM veteran who left the organisation in June 2020 and was this year named as CEO for Kyndryl, is to be chairman of a 10-person board, which includes some well-known and lesser-known figures.

He said: "Our first board brings great leadership skills, an international perspective and extensive transformation expertise, and they will be a great asset to our leaders and our customers as we begin the journey as an independent company."

Kyndryl is effectively IBM's ailing Global Technology Services unit.

Joining him will be Stephen Hester, the lead independent director on the board. Readers may remember Hester from his time at Royal Bank of Scotland after being parachuted into the bankrupt business during the 2008 credit crunch. He was reportedly forced out five years later as the UK government – which bailed out the bank – hired a fresh face to lead privatisation.

Hester, who will be made chairman at Easyjet in December, was quoted as saying his time at RBS was "bruising and difficult" – so it will be interesting to hear how he finds life at Kyndryl, which has shrunk at the hands of cloud providers convincing customers to switch workloads to their data centres.

"A 90,000-person 'startup' doesn't come along very often, and neither does the opportunity to establish what will be the world's largest customer-centric technology services company," claimed Hester.

The other board seats will be filled by:

  • Dominic Caruso, a director of McKesson Corporation and formerly exec veep and CFO at Johnson & Johnson
  • John Harris, one-time veep of biz development for Raytheon and a CEO of its international segment, and who currently sits on the board for Cisco and Flex
  • Dr Shirley Ann Jackson, President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which IBM said is the oldest tech research uni in the US
  • Janina Kugel, previously a chief human resource officer and board member at Siemens AG
  • Denis Machuel, CEO at Sodexo
  • Rahul Merchant, senior exec veep of client service and technology at the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America-College Retirement Equities Fund, and serves on the board at Juniper Networks. He was formerly the CIO and CTO at Merrill Lynch
  • Jana Schreuder, former exec veep and COO at Northern Trust Corporation
  • Howard Ungerleider, president and CEO at material science company Dow

Kyndryl, a name which IBM imagined after a particularly heavy session at the strategy boutique, "invokes the spirit of true partnership and growth," said Big Blue previously.

The company, due to be spun out before 2021 is over, has a $60bn services backlog, 4,600 clients including 75 per cent of the Fortune 500, with a reach into 115 countries, IBM said almost a year ago when first announcing the decision.

What IBM failed to mention is that Global Technology Services hasn't grown revenue in recent memory. Perhaps it can focus more effectively as an independent company and improve the fortunes for staff that have faced countless redundancy programmes in five of the past six years. ®

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