IBM merges 13 APAC nations into one regional organization

And calls it 'ASEANZK' (gesundheit) to reflect inclusion of Australia, New Zealand, Korea and all of ASEAN


IBM quietly reorganized its Asian affairs at the start of 2022, creating a region called ASEANZK that means big markets such as Australia and South Korea now report to a regional entity.

ASEANZK (gesundheit) comprises the ten ASEAN member countries – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam – plus Australia, New Zealand and South Korea. The Register understands that the ASEAN group previously operated as a region, and the three other nations stood alone.

The new region means in-country leaders now report to Agnes Heftberger – an IBMer of over 14 years' experience, who has been appointed general manager to lead the ASEANZK market.

The Register asked IBM why it made the change. Big Blue told us it was needed because "With the world beginning to pivot around Asia, it's clear that ASEANZK will not only be a strategically important market, but it is also well positioned to capitalize on the broader growth opportunities in the region."

And that's all the company offered by way of explanation.

IBM's Asian operations are divided into three regions, including ASEANZSK. One, called GCG, serves China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The other region, ISA, covers India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The latter two regions retain the same leadership and structure they employed prior to 2022.

The Register fancies the formation of ASEANZK may have been driven by the spin-out of IBM's services arm as a new entity called Kyndryl. That transaction saw many employees shifted to the new company, and perhaps made it less appropriate for Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea to retain their standalone status. ®

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