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IBM Research head Paul Horn steps aside

Paul Horn has spent 11 years leading IBM Research, bringing several technical innovations and a sharper commercial focus.

Paul Horn, the director of IBM Research for the past 11 years, is stepping aside to take an academic scientist position at New York University. He will be replaced by John Kelly, IBM's senior vice president of technology and intellectual property.

Horn's tenure at IBM Research is marked by technology accomplishments--including when IBM's Deep Blue computer beat former chess champion Garry Kasparov--and a sharper commercial orientation of IBM's vaunted labs.

Paul Horn
Paul Horn, director of IBM Research, is taking an academic position at New York University. IBM Research

During his time there, Horn, 60, sought to connect IBM researchers with customers and partners. As IBM began making a growing portion of its revenue from professional services, he funded research to help analyze business processes and make IBM consultants more productive.

In a memo sent to IBM employees on Tuesday, executive vice president of innovation and technology Nick Donofrio recalled some of IBM Research's accomplishments over the past 11 years, including the Deep Blue and Blue Gene supercomputers, copper chips, the giant magneto-resistive head and autonomic computing.

"Since taking the helm in 1996, Paul has transformed our company's R&D model and turned IBM Research into an engine of innovation and growth," Donofrio wrote.

Kelly will take over immediately, though Horn, who has worked at IBM for 28 years, will stay on until September to help in the transition. As head of IBM's intellectual property strategy, Kelly has helped form IBM's open-source strategy and technology licensing agreements. He formerly headed up IBM's Technology Group, responsible for IBM Microelectronics.

Horn, a trained physicist, will take up the position of Distinguished Scientist in Residence at New York University, where he plans to lecture, do research and explore book ideas, according to IBM.