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IBM shuffles its executive deck

Was software group's lackluster performance a factor? Big Blue says the moves are part of a regular rotation.

IBM has reshuffled some of its top executives, in a series of moves that the company says is part of regular executive rotations and not a reaction to lackluster software results.

Big Blue named John Swainson, who was heading IBM's successful WebSphere division, as the top software sales executive, replacing Donn Atkins. Atkins will now be in charge of IBM's business partner programs. Former Tivoli general manager Robert LeBlanc is now general manager of the WebSphere organization.

Al Zollar, who left the Lotus division to take over IBM's iSeries midrange server division about 18 months ago, is now in charge of Tivoli systems management software. Mike Borman, who was in charge of partner relations, will now lead the iSeries business, which used to be called the AS/400 group.

An IBM representative on Wednesday said that the changes were part of the company's periodic executive rotations and were not meant to revive the relatively poor performance of IBM's software group last quarter.

Mirroring the gloomy second-quarter results of many software companies, IBM's software business was a weak spot in the tech giant's earnings reported earlier this month.

Revenue for the IBM software group overall, which was $3.5 billion, was essentially flat compared with the same period last year. Adjusted for the weak dollar and other currency changes, revenue was down 4 percent.

In May, the company moved some top executives because Mike Lawrie, the former senior vice president of sales and distribution, took over as CEO of Siebel Systems. As part of that reshuffling, former chief financial officer John Joyce took over IBM's Global Services division, and Doug Elix, who headed Global Services, took over Lawrie's old job. Mark Loughridge is now the chief financial officer.