"Over the last decade, Sam Palmisano has taken on a
number of IBM's most significant challenges, from building the
services business to transforming our server line," Gerstner said
in a statement. ... "Sam's unique mix of strategic vision, passion
and discipline, combined with his intimate understanding of IBM,
make him the right person to become IBM's next CEO."
IBM's Palmisano, a decades-long IBM employee, is credited with
leading a redesign of the company's entire server computer lineup,
including IBM's adoption of more open industry standards such as
the Linux operating system.
"Palmisano has been on the radar screen for the last few years
and it would have been a major surprise if anyone but him had
succeeded Gerstner," said Paul Carroll, author of "Big Blues," a
book about IBM during the 1980s."