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IBM APAC Loses Two Leaders; Bajwa & Green Quit


One could say that it was a shocker of a start to IBM’s new year as the tech giant lost not one but two senior members of the leadership team in the APAC region. While Karan Bajwa stepped down as Managing Director of India and South Asia operations to pursue opportunities outside, the APAC region’s CEO Harriet Green stepped down citing family issues and health.

The company announced the appointment of Sandip Patel as Managing Director of its India and South Asia operations. In a statement, IBM said that Patel will be responsible for “all strategic and operational matters related to IBM’s sales, marketing, services and delivery operations in the region, including Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Additionally, he will play a critical role in enabling India’s capabilities across IBM’s global missions, global centres of excellence, research and innovation labs.”

On the other side, Harriet Green resigned as CEO and Chairperson of IBM in the APAC region after a four-and-half year stint with the Big Blue, whom she joined after quitting her leadership role with Thomas Cook, that ran into rough weather last year. She revealed the “hard decision” to resign and take time out for the family via her LinkedIn account.

The two resignations puts IBM in a sticky situation where the company has to align itself a second time in about four years to a new leadership at two levels in the region. While Patel takes over from Bajwa at a similar position, Green’s position remains vacant as the company has designated Brenda Harvey, currently the GM of US Public Market as GM of Asia Pacific.

A report published in the Hindu Businessline says “Bajwa’s departure from IBM is a big shock for the technology major as the company is still in the process of realigning to Bajwa’s One IBM vision, integrating various teams to strategically focus on key clients while at the same time go aggressively after digital deals.

It was indeed ironic that Harriet Green, who announced the company’s decision to appoint Sandip Patel as the successor to Karan Bajwa, herself took the decision to move on barely 12 hours after being quoted in the statement released by IBM.

“One of the things that sets IBM apart is its compassion, especially in supporting people through the lifetime of their personal needs,” wrote Green, via LinkedIn. “For me, right now, that means shifting my focus and spending more time caring for those people closest to me.

“My time with IBM has been among the most fulfilling periods of my career, working closely with clients on their most challenging business transformation initiatives. I’ve valued this opportunity tremendously and will take only good memories with me to this next important chapter – one that many of you will have undertaken.”

Green joined IBM in September 2015 as general manager of Watson Internet of Things, Commerce and Education, based in the UK. In January 2018, Green was handed the reins of Asia Pacific, tasked with driving growth across the entire region.

Prior to his new role, Patel was the president of Aetna International where he had full P&L responsibility for their international business. He has served as partner in various leadership roles at IBM, PwC and Coopers & Lybrand, and early in his career was a practicing Chartered Accountant in India.

Globally, IBM has been focusing on the cloud and cognitive software business and completed the Red Hat acquisition. Its other areas of focus in the new decade internet of things, data and artificial intelligence platforms and hybrid cloud.

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