IBM taps head of its New York state business to be new federal lead

Steve LaFleche will be the new general manager for the U.S. Public and Federal Market, taking over from Jay Bellissimo, who left in January to join Vonage.

IBM has named a new head of its federal business. Steve LaFleche is the new general manager for the U.S. Public and Federal Market, taking over from Jay Bellissimo, who left in January to join Vonage as its chief operating officer.

Steve LaFleche is the  new general manager for the U.S. Public and Federal Market for IBM.

LaFleche comes to the new role after spending the last three-plus years as IBM’s managing director for the State of New York. He has been with Big Blue for 33 years and has held multiple positions, including vice president of the U.S. Public Sector for North America.

LaFleche said his immediate priorities include collaborating with federal and other customers “to bring resilience to their infrastructures, so we all emerge smarter and stronger from this crisis.”

In his new role, he will be responsible for furthering the digital transformation of clients in the federal, state and local government markets as education, healthcare and life sciences industries.

“We are in the midst of a necessary technological shift to accommodate federal, state, and local governments’ IT needs. We believe the best way to achieve this is by adopting an open hybrid, multi-cloud approach because no single vendor can offer that level of flexibility and agility,” he said in a statement. “This will ultimately unlock powerful cloud-enabled technologies, including artificial intelligence, blockchain, and internet of things, all while improving cybersecurity and providing faster responses for citizen-facing services.”

IBM won $1.1 billion in contracts in 2019 and just over $1 billion in 2020, according to the data on USASpending.gov. The Defense Department is its biggest customer with $913 million in total obligations during those two years, while the Department of Homeland Security ($278M) and the Social Security Administration ($201M) round out the top three agencies that buy from IBM.

IBM has been going through significant changes in the federal market over the last few years. It is planning to spin-off its managed infrastructure services unit of its Global Technology Services to focus on its open hybrid cloud platform. The cloud computing business will remain under IBM and the infrastructure services under “NewCo.” The separation of the two companies is expected to be completed by the end of 2021. It named Martin Schroeter as the CEO of NewCo in January.

It also continues to integrate Red Hat, which it bought in 2018 for $34 billion.

In January, IBM detailed its plans to create a “digital society” in a new white paper. The strategy highlights three goals for federal agencies: The first is to adopt a hybrid cloud architecture. The second is to increase the adoption of commercial technology. And the third is to enhance the role of the CIOs in leading IT modernization decisions.

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