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IBM poaches Microsoft VP who becomes first female chief executive of its UK&I business

Dr Nicola Hodson succeeds Sreeram Visvanathan, who is leaving IBM after 22 years

IBM UK and Ireland has announced its first female chief executive, with the appointment of former Microsoft global executive Dr Nicola Hodson.

In her new role at IBM, Dr Hodson will be responsible for business operations, driving revenue growth, client satisfaction, as well as employee engagement in the UK and Ireland. 

“IBM has incredible relevance in the market and I am excited to lead the UK and Ireland business and to work with such a talented team,” she said. “This is a make-or-break time for all companies and organisations as they move at pace to transform, to adopt new technologies and business models and to deliver on their sustainability ambitions. 

“IBM technology and consulting capabilities in hybrid cloud and AI are helping clients to accelerate their critical transformation journeys.”

Dr Hodson joins the business from her most recent role as Microsoft’s vice president of customer and partner solutions, where she was also a member of the company's global leadership team for commercial business. 

She joined Microsoft back in 2008, tasked with leading its UK public sector business, before becoming the firm’s UK chief operating officer four years later. She replaces the outgoing Sreeram Visvanathan, who is leaving IBM after 22 years.

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Announcing the appointment, IBM praised Dr Hodson’s extensive tech industry expertise and senior leadership experience. 

“Nicola is an accomplished leader with an enviable wealth of senior-level experience in the IT industry and a deep understanding of challenges facing the C-suite,” commented Ana Paula Assis, chair and general manager at IBM Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

“The UK and Ireland business is a critical growth and innovation engine for IBM and her strong track record in leading change will help drive sustained growth for our clients and our business.”

As deputy president of trade association techUK, Dr Hodson will bring deep knowledge of UK business and government strategy.

She also holds non-executive director roles at insurance company Beazley, Drax, and Bramble Energy Ltd, and has previously worked in the IT and business services division of Siemens, at CSC (now DXC), and as a management consultant for EY.

Additionally, Dr Hodson was a non-executive director at energy regulator Ofgem and a board member at the UK Council for Child Internet Safety and at CEOP, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection group in the UK.

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