Business Technology

Ex-Thomas Cook CEO Harriet Green joins IBM to lead new IoT and education divisions

4 min read

15 September 2015

Former deputy editor

American computing giant IBM has hired ex-Thomas Cook CEO Harriet Green for a role that will see her leave travel behind as she helms new Internet of Things and education business units.

After a two and a half year stint at Thomas Cook, the British businesswoman’s departure was announced back in November 2014 – although though ties were formally severed in June 2015 after six months of gardening leave from 1 January.

Green was widely criticised this year following an inquest into the deaths of two children who died from carbon monoxide poisoning while on a Thomas Cook holiday in 2006, which highlighted that an apology wasn’t issued to the family by her or the company.

On the back of the furore, Green agreed to donate a third of her £5.6m bonus from her former employer to a charity of the family’s choice – a move that was deemed “abhorrent”.

Green has now secured a new role with IBM, which will her lead new divisions at the American computing firm as the vice president and general manager for the Internet of Things (IoT) and education.

The firm claims the new business units will harness its big data and analytical strengths. Green, meanwhile, will look beyond her travel experience and retrace the footsteps from her time as CEO at tech solutions company Premier Farnell and executive at Arrow Electronics.

Her team will comprise more than 2,000 people, inclusive of consultants, researchers and developers, while she will also be in charge of leading other businesses that provide areas of new growth for IBM.

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“Harriet brings to IBM a strong, proven track record as a transformative leader. Her creativity and vision will help organisations transform themselves to take fuller advantage of emerging data and cognitive technologies,” said John E. Kelly, SVP, solutions portfolio and research.

“Throughout her career, across multiple geographies and cultures, she has consistently shown a deep understanding of the needs of her customers and clients, and how to help them achieve their goals and aspirations.”

The launch comes after IBM said it March it would make a $3bn investment across four years to produce new cognitive computing technologies and data services to support its clients and partners with IoT. The education unit, meanwhile, will officially open later in the year.

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Green said: “The Internet of Things will help enterprises and governments at every level unlock entirely new areas of opportunity and growth, and no company is better positioned than IBM to be the partner of choice as these organisations embrace its potential.

“Likewise, education is being transformed by technology and IBM is incredibly well positioned to help leaders in the field enable this change. I’m honoured to join IBM and to become part of a team that is shaping this exciting and transformative moment for industries.”