IBM i Executives: Where Are They Now?
November 4, 2015 Alex Woodie
Anybody remember Buell Duncan, who presided over his iSeries flock with a smooth Texas drawl? Or Colin Parris, who brought a doctorate degree in electrical engineering to his IBM i tenure? If you’ve been watching IBM for very long, you’ll know the company shifts around its top executives on a regular basis. But where are those former IBM i execs now, and what are they doing? The news might surprise you.
Like lots of big, diverse companies, Big Blue likes to groom its leaders by giving them a wide range of assignments, which means that, over the past 20 years, we’ve seen quite a number of different people holding top positions in the IBM i business.
For many years, the AS/400 and iSeries had its very own division, and the general manager was the top dog. He (and it was always a he) would count the vice president of sales and the vice president of marketing as his top lieutenants. Some of these executives are still with IBM, but most have left the company for one reason or another.
Here is what’s become of the general managers of the AS/400, iSeries, System i, and Power Systems division, in chronological order, to the best of our knowledge, with thanks due to LinkedIn:
Bill Zeitler General manager of iSeries in mid-1990s, then senior vice president and group executive of IBM Systems and Technology Group (STG) from 2000 to 2008. Zeitler joined IBM as a young programmer in 1969, rose through the ranks to be its top server boss, and retired from the company in May 2008 after a 39-year career.
Tom Jarosh General manager of the AS/400 division in late 1990s to 2000. The sometimes gruff GM joined the company in 1975, and ushered the AS/400 platform through the tumultuous Y2K conversion. He passed away in 2008 at the age of 55 while still working at IBM’s STG.
Buell Duncan General manager of the iSeries division from 2000 to 2001. Duncan is currently vice president of portfolio marketing for IBM, where he leads a team of 2,500 professional marketers across IBM’s software, services and systems businesses.
Al Zollar General manager of the iSeries division (sometimes called the MidMarket Server Division) within IBM Server Group from 2002 to 2003. Prior to running the iSeries shop, Zollar managed the Lotus Domino group at IBM, and afterwards, he went on to run Tivoli until his retirement from IBM in 2011. Currently he is the executive partner of SIRIS Capital Group in New York City.
Mike Borman General manager of the iSeries division in 2004 and 2005. Borman was hired by IBM as a programmer more than 30 years ago, and worked his way up to a variety of jobs, including being the GM of worldwide channels, of the pSeries division, and VP of worldwide sales for the software group. Since 2012, he has been the CEO of SunGard Public Sector, which still sells IBM i software to governments, and his LinkedIn page lists him as founder of Borman Strategic Consulting Group.
Mark Shearer General manager of the System i group from 2005 to 2007. In 2008, following the convergence of the System i and System p into the Power Systems group, he was demoted to vice president of marketing and strategy for IBM STG. He is currently EVP and president of SMB Mailing Solutions at Pitney Bowes, which also has an IBM i mapping and mailing product.
Tom Rosamilia General manager of the converged Power Systems and System z group from 2008 to 2012. Rosamilia is an IBM lifer who joined the company as a programmer in 1983. Currently senior VP of IBM Systems, Rosamilia is considered a candidate to replace CEO Ginni Rometty in a few years, if she sticks to Big Blue’s unwritten rule that execs voluntarily retire when they reach age 60.
Colin Parris General manager of at the Power Systems group in 2012 to 2013. Parris joined IBM more than 20 years ago, and held a variety of positions in software, hardware, and research. He left IBM a year ago to become the vice president of GE Software Research in at General Electric headquarters in Schenectady, New York.
Doug Balog Current General Manager of the Power Systems group in STG. Balog joined IBM more than 30 years ago and held several other positions before being appointed the head of the converged Power Systems business in the Raleigh, North Carolina office in the summer of 2013.
As we mentioned, general manager is not the only place where top execs strut their stuff. The IBM i server biz has seen its share of top executive talent come and go over the years. Here are some of the notable ones:
Mike Lawrie Senior vice president of sales and distribution left IBM in 2004 to be CEO at Siebel Systems, which was subsequently gobbled up by Oracle. Currently CEO of Computer Sciences Corp., a big tech services group, where he recently blamed an earnings miss on–of all things–a lack of RPG programmers in the job market.
Kim Stevenson Vice president of marketing for iSeries from 2001 to 2002. Stevenson’s career has been looking up since she left to take job at EDS. Currently she is the CIO at chip giant Intel. She also sits on the board of directors for Hadoop darling Cloudera.
Peter Bingaman Vice president of marketing from 2004 to 2005. The sharp marketer came to Big Blue from Staples, but he didn’t find an “easy button” here. Currently is the head of marketing for Mercer, a global consulting firm.
Elaine Lennox Vice president of marketing for IBM STG from 2005 to 2007. The likable Lennox left to be CMO at PHP company Zend Technologies (which was recently bought by Rouge Wave Software), and is currently vice president of marketing at Inkling.
Scott Handy Vice president of marketing for Power Systems 2007 to 2011. Handy retired form IBM in 2011 and is currently enrolled at University of Texas, Austin, where he’s getting his master’s in social work.
Jeff Howard Vice president of marketing for PureFlex and Flex System 2011 to 2013. He’s now vice president of product management and product marketing at the shipping and logistics firm INTTRA.
Zarina Stanford Vice president of marketing for Power Systems from 2011 to 2013. Last month she was named head of marketing for SAP‘s Asia Pacific and Japan group.
Lisa Johnston Vice president of marketing for Power Systems from 2013 to 2015. Currently managing director of marketing for Vista Consulting Group, an arm of Vista Equity Partners.
Doug Brown Current vice president of marketing for IBM Systems. Brown took over for Johnston in January 2015. He was formerly IBM’s vice president of marketing for Power and System z from 2010 to 2013.