On IBM’s 100th Birthday, Succession Question Looms

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IBMs 100th anniversary this year is coinciding with another milestone for the company- the retirement of CEO Sam Palmisano, 60 years.

Though Palmisano had earlier identified his possible heirs; with the succession chatter growing, he is trying to tamp down the speculation that he is ready to move away from the post. Though analysts differ.

“Sam is very much in charge and is having fun,” says Bob Djurdjevic, a longtime IBM watcher and president of Annex Research Inc. “It’s ridiculous to have some artificial deadline for someone to retire because creativity is not proportional to age.” Speculation of his retirement sparked as Palmisano is turning 60 this year, a typical age for a CEO to retire.

He also added that Palmisano is currently in no hurry to leave IBM and the board would be crazy to force the issue just because in the past thats been the tradition.

Last September, in a rare public comment, Palmisano had stated that he is not going anywhere and the company has no formal retirement age policy for its CEOs. This announcement had then increased the IBMs stock by 25 percent.

Sources: Associated Press; Economic Times

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