IBM shuffles business-unit heads

IBM is playing an executive version of the musical chairs game this week, shuffling around a number of its business-unit leaders.

Former worldwide software sales head Donn Atkins will take over as general manager of IBM's global business partner organizations, a position IBM veteran Michael Borman held since early 2003. Borman will become general manager of IBM's iSeries server group, while current iSeries head Al Zollar becomes the general manager of the Tivoli software group.

Tivoli's incumbent leader, Robert LeBlanc, moves to the WebSphere line, where he'll serve as general manager. And, completing the circle, WebSphere head John Swainson will take over Atkins' position as IBM's head of software sales.

IBM spokesman Tim Breuer cast the changes as business as usual at a company that likes to rotate its managing executives through various departments.

"It's a chance to build skills and take advantage of IBM's deep bench," Breuer said.

The rearrangement comes three months after a similar shuffle in IBM's top management ranks, prompted by the departure of sales and distribution head Mike Lawrie for Siebel Systems. That revamp involved job swaps among the heads of IBM's sales, global services, and finance organizations.

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