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IBM shifts CFO, head of services

IBM juggles positions in its executive suite after its top sales exec leaves to go to Siebel Systems.

IBM is shifting positions in its executive suite in response to the sudden departure of its top sales exec.

Siebel Systems announced Monday that Mike Lawrie, until now the senior vice president of sales and distribution at IBM, would become its new CEO. As a result, IBM has moved to plug the hole.

In the new hierarchy, Douglas Elix, the senior vice president in charge of IBM's services division, will take Lawrie's old job, while Chief Financial Officer John Joyce is taking over the reins of IBM's services division.

Likewise, Joyce is being replaced as CFO by global financing executive Mark Loughridge.

The series of role changes was probably discussed in advance, said Richard Petersen, analyst with Pacific Crest Securities. He suggested the loss of Lawrie and the resulting moves aren't likely to hurt the company, given IBM's management depth. "IBM, in particular, is a little less at risk from management shake-ups," Petersen said.

IBM spokesman John Bukovinsky said Monday that "moving executives at this level is a common thing at IBM."

Joyce is taking over the key IBM Global Services (IGS) unit after four and a half years as Big Blue's CFO. Before serving as CFO, Joyce had headed the company's Asia-Pacific group.

"With John's extensive operational experience and, of course, his financial expertise and discipline, he is ideally suited to lead IGS and further enhance its leadership position," IBM CEO Sam Palmisano said in a memo to top IBM executives. "IBM Global Financing will continue to report to John as part of IGS. This brings together all IBM services, including financing, into one organization."

Services now constitutes about half of IBM's business and is one of the major legacies of former CEO Lou Gerstner. IBM said revenue from its Global Services Unit, including maintenance, increased 9 percent to $11.1 billion in the first quarter, while overall revenue came to $22.3 billion. Operating profit for the group came to $991 million of a total $2.3 billion in operating profit. Hardware revenue from continuing operations rose 16 percent to $6.7 billion in the quarter, while software revenue climbed 11 percent, to $3.5 billion, the company said.

The executives changing jobs Monday are all familiar faces at IBM and have held a variety of jobs. Elix started work there in 1969, while Loughridge started in 1977. Joyce came to the company in 1975 and was appointed CFO in 1999.