He'll be replaced by not one, but two IBM executives, Spencer Ante at Wall Street Journal reports, as IBM's chairman and CEO Ginny Rometty slowly assembles her hand-picked team.
The two execs are Bridget van Kralingen, and Erich Clementi. This is van Kralingen's second promotion at IBM since Rometty took over. She previously ran IBM's Global Business Services, a 100,000-employee group responsible for consulting and other hands-on tasks for customers. Clementi previously ran IBM's outsourcing unit.
Daniels had been at IBM for 36 years and was at one time considered the heir apparent to Sam Palmisano as Big Blue's next chief executive. He was passed over for Rometty before she took the job in October 2011, as was another top contender, head of IBM's software unit Steve Mills.
Daniels role at IBM cannot be overstated. He lead IBM's massively lucrative services business and Rometty praised him in the email she sent to troops announcing his retirement, Ante reported:
"Mike is a builder. He helped create our services business, which today generates more than half of IBM's revenue and employs more than half of our global workforce," Rometty's email said.
Daniels fired thousands of employees to outsource jobs overseas to lower-cost regions like India, reports Bloomberg's Sarah Frier. This shift to overseas workers is part of IBM's five-year plan to reach earnings per share of $20 by 2015 from from $13.44 in 2011. (The job cuts also cost Daniels some fans among IBM's rank and file, one former employee tells us.)
Daniels retirement could soon be followed by more announcements from 30+-year top executives from Palmisano's inner circle, according internal scuttlebutt from IBM employees. We're hearing unconfirmed rumors that the the software unit's vice president of marketing, Buell Duncan and general manager for developer relations, Jim Corgel, might soon leave.
We've reached out to IBM for comment on this speculation and we'll update the story if IBM responds.
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