IBM CEO to Step Down: Tech Weekly Recap

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- IBM's ( IBM) popular CEO Sam Palmisano will step down at year-end, the tech bellwether announced on Tuesday. Palmisano will be replaced by the company's sales chief, Virginia Rometty, the first female CEO in IBM's 100-year history.

In a statement, IBM explained that Palmisano will remain chairman of the board, adding that the CEO transition will take place on Jan. 1.
IBM CEO Sam Palmisano will step down next year.

"Ginni Rometty has successfully led several of IBM's most important businesses over the past decade -- from the formation of IBM Global Business Services to the build-out of our Growth Markets Unit," said Palmisano, in the statement. "But she is more than a superb operational executive -- with every leadership role, she has strengthened our ability to integrate IBM's capabilities for our clients."

Palmisano, who took IBM's reins in 2002, successfully guided the tech giant through the economic downturn, and helped architect its push towards high-margin areas such as software and services.

Like Palmisano, Rometty is also an IBM veteran, having joined the company as a systems engineer in 1981.

IBM also announced plans to beef up its share buyback on Tuesday.

Big Blue's stock closed UP $1.57, or 0.84%, at $187.45 on Friday.

HP ( HPQ) will keep its PC division, the company's CEO Meg Whitman announced on Thursday, after spending the last few months considering a spinoff of its computer business.

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The possible PC spinoff, one of a host of strategic changes announced by the company's former CEO Leo Apotheker earlier this year, proved massively unpopular with investors. Ultimately, the strategy contributed to Apotheker's ouster last month.

"HP objectively evaluated the strategic, financial and operational impact of spinning off PSG. It's clear after our analysis that keeping PSG within HP is right for customers and partners, right for shareholders, and right for employees," explained HP CEO Meg Whitman, in a statement released after market close.

Whitman's move won plaudits on Wall Street, although analysts have warned that she still has lots of work to do before HP gets back on track.

HP's shares ended the week up 95 cents, or 3.52%, at $27.95.

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