In a tech industry dominated by Apple, Alphabet, Meta and Microsoft, it can be easy to forget that much of the humdrum work that makes screens flicker, servers hum and businesses run is performed by companies that rarely make the headlines, companies that have been gradually shaping the computer business for decades, companies like IBM.
Over the past 30 years, IBM has changed drastically, becoming a major player in cloud computing and artificial intelligence. And during those decades, Arvind Krishna was rising through the ranks of Big Blue, becoming chief executive in January 2020.
Mr. Krishna, who grew up in India before coming to the United States to get his Ph.D., has spent most of his career at IBM, and recently led the company’s acquisition of Red Hat.
Yet running a company as large as IBM requires more than just good business chops these days. The pandemic hit just as Mr. Krishna took