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Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute Recognizes Arvind Krishna with Legend in Leadership Award

Arvind Krishna, chairman and chief executive officer of IBM, will receive the Yale Legend in Leadership Award at the Yale CEO Caucus in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, September 13.

Arvind Krishna, chairman and chief executive officer of IBM, will receive the Yale Legend in Leadership Award at the Yale CEO Caucus in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, September 13. The award, based upon the nomination of past winners and ratified by Yale faculty and staff, will be presented by Albert Bourla, chairman and CEO of Pfizer, and Lynn Good, chairman, president, and CEO of Duke Energy.

Summit organizer Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, senior associate dean for leadership studies at the Yale School of Management, said, “It is my honor to recognize Arvind Krishna as the Yale Legend in Leadership Award recipient this year. Arvind Krishna is a strong steward of IBM’s storied heritage while simultaneously transforming IBM, positioning it as a 21st-century cloud services behemoth.

“A trained technical scientist who earned a PhD in electrical engineering, Krishna has spent his entire professional career at IBM and has co-authored dozens of patents while publishing extensively in technical journals. Rising up the ranks in positions of increasing responsibility, Krishna has been the driving force of IBM’s expansion into new markets in artificial intelligence, cloud computing, quantum computing, and blockchain technology, including spearheading IBM’s transformative acquisition of cloud services provider Red Hat, as well as expanding into new product lines such as government consulting, pivoting IBM far afield from its legacy hardware business while many competitors fell behind. He has also played a significant role in the development of innovative IBM products and solutions based on these emerging technologies. And as a first-generation American by choice, Krishna provides a trailblazing personal model who inspires countless others.”

Over his 30-year career at IBM, Krishna led a series of bold transformations and delivered proven business results. He most recently drove the successful $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat —the largest software acquisition—that has defined the hybrid cloud market. Together, IBM and Red Hat give clients the unique ability to build mission-critical applications once and run them anywhere.

Krishna previously was senior vice president of cloud and cognitive software, a position in which he pioneered the company’s hybrid cloud business, transformed IBM’s entire software and services portfolio and offerings for cloud, and grew the business. He also led IBM research, where he drove innovation in core and emerging technologies including artificial intelligence, quantum computing, blockchain, cloud platform services, data-driven solutions, and nanotechnology. In 2016, Wired magazine selected Krishna as “one of 25 geniuses who are creating the future of business” for his foundational work on blockchain.

As general manager of IBM Systems and Technology Group’s development and manufacturing organization, Krishna led the strategy for data-centric systems and the widespread industry adoption of open and collaborative technology standards. He also grew the IBM Information Management business by 50 percent.

At IBM, Krishna has been an outspoken advocate for learning at every stage of one’s career. He has made scientific contributions in a number of technical fields, including wireless networking, security, systems, and databases. In addition, he founded IBM’s security software business and helped create the world’s first commercial wireless system.

Krishna is a member of the board of directors of the New York Federal Reserve Bank and he serves on the board of directors of Northrop Grumman. He has an undergraduate degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the recipient of distinguished alumni awards from both institutions.

The Legend in Leadership Award was created 25 years ago to honor current and former CEOs who serve as living legends to inspire chief executives across industries, sectors, and nations. Some recent recipients include but are not limited to: Steven Spielberg, filmmaker and chairman of Amblin Partners; Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft; Kathy Warden, CEO of Northrop Grumman; Darius Adamczyk, CEO of Honeywell; Volodymyr Zelenskyy, president of Ukraine; Doug Parker, chairman of American Airlines; Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer; Alex Gorsky, CEO of Johnson & Johnson; Lynn Good, CEO, Duke Energy; Lisa Su, CEO, AMD; Anthony Fauci, M.D., former director of the NIAID; Doug McMillon, CEO, Walmart; Arne Sorenson, CEO, Marriott International; Andrew J. Young, mayor (1982-1990), Atlanta, Georgia, and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (1977-1979); Brian C. Cornell, chair and CEO, Target Corporation; Doug McMillan, president and CEO, Walmart; Ivan G. Seidenberg, chair and CEO, Verizon Communications; Ken Frazier, chair and CEO, Merck & Co.; Randall L. Stephenson, chairman and CEO, AT&T; Colin Powell, retired four-star U.S. Army General, chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989–93), and 65th U.S. Secretary of State (2001–05); Virginia M. (Ginni) Rometty, chairman, president, and CEO, IBM Corporation; Janet Yellen, United States Secretary of the Treasury; Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever PLC; Mary T. Barra, chairman and chief executive of General Motors Company; Brian Moynihan, chairman and CEO, Bank of America; David M. Rubenstein, co-founder and co-executive chairman, The Carlyle Group; Leonard S. Schleifer, president and CEO, and George D. Yancopoulos, president and chief scientific officer, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals; Brian Roberts, CEO, Comcast; Marillyn Hewson, CEO, Lockheed Martin; Jamie Dimon, CEO, JPMorgan Chase; and Ken Chenault, chair and CEO, American Express. 

The caucus theme is Orchestrating vs. Regulating: Finding the Perfect Pitch Between Business and Government for Guiding Edgy Technologies.

Among those top leaders participating are the CEOs and leaders from: Pfizer, Duke Energy, IBM, Walmart, American Airlines, McKinsey & Company, EY, Evercore, TD Cowen, Edison International, Biohaven, Kyndryl, AMC, Under Armour, Ethan Allen, Snap-On, and Paul Weiss.

Our sponsors include: AlixPartners, EY, Edelman, J.H. Whitney Investment Management, Reichman Jorgensen Lehman & Feldberg, and McKinsey & Company.