IBM Shakes Up Executive Suite

John Joyce will go from CFO to head of global services. Mark Loughridge becomes Big Blue's new CFO.
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In a complicated corporate version of musical chairs,

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

shifted around its top leadership Monday, moving its chief financial officer to head up its flagship $42 billion services arm.

Effective immediately, John Joyce will depart his CFO position, which he has held since November 1999, to head global services. Joyce has held high-level roles on the operations side before; prior to taking up the CFO post, he presided over IBM's Asia Pacific division, where he helped plot strategy for business development in 19 countries.

Taking Joyce's place as CFO will be Mark Loughridge who, since April 2002, has headed IBM's global financing division, which claims assets of over $30 billion. Loughridge joined IBM in 1977 as a development engineer.

Additionally, Douglas Elix, current head of the services division, has been tapped to head worldwide sales, replacing Michael Lawrie, who is leaving IBM. Elix, who joined IBM in 1969, has led IBM's services arm since October 1999.

Pacific Crest's Richard Peterson expressed surprise at the way the news was disseminated. The story was first reported in

Reuters

, but IBM did not issue a press release. "It seems like an odd way to put the news out in the middle of the day. It's uncharacteristic of them."

That said, he noted that IBM has a policy of shifting around managers on executive tracks to hone their resumes in new positions. "I'm not sure it really affects the fundamental story at all. IBM seems like a well-managed company, and the fact that Joyce is staying inside implies that it's a voluntary move."

At Parker/Hunter, analyst Kim Caughey likewise said she was not expecting the shift. But she added that on first impression, Joyce appears to be making a sideways move. "Services is huge now, so I wouldn't take it as a demotion at all. It's just shifting talent."

IBM shares were recently down 27 cents, or 0.3%, to $87.90.