IBM CIO Ray Kanner to Retire

Kanner plans to step down early this summer after 23 years with the $150 billion pension fund, CIO has learned.

RayKanner_ChrisBuzelliRay Kanner, outgoing CIO, IBM (Art by Chris Buzelli)Ray Kanner, CIO and managing director for IBM’s $150 billion global retirement system, intends to retire at the end of the second quarter. 

His departure will culminate a 38-year career with the Armonk, New York-based technology giant, including 23 years with the pension fund. Kanner took over the investment office in 2007. 

A replacement has yet to be announced. IBM has a deep bench of internal investment talent, including Kanner’s 25-person US team and roughly the same number of people overseas. 

“It’s been a great experience,” Kanner told CIO of his decades at IBM. “The fund is in a good place: We’re fully funded and substantially de-risked.” 

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One industry insider put it more pointedly, calling Kanner’s defined benefit handiwork “a de-risking machine.” 

His legacy extends well beyond the walls of IBM’s investment office in White Plains, New York. The tight knit and collaborative US corporate pension community counts Kanner as a core member. For the past two years, he has served as chair of its industry group: the Committee on Investment of Employee Benefit Assets (CIEBA). 

Kanner will step down from the association one meeting before the official chair term ends, he said, and turn over leadership to Boeing CIO Andy Ward. 

Although exiting from IBM and CIEBA, Kanner will not be leaving the corporate retirement universe entirely. “While there are no immediate plans,” he said. “I plan on staying active in the industry.” 

Related: The Rise of Mega-Defined Contribution & Power 100: #23 Ray Kanner