The board elected McCracken by a unanimous vote. He will now hold both the CEO and chairman positions.
McCracken has been involved in the day-to-day management of CA, as well as in the development and execution of strategy, since Swainson announced his retirement in September.
"We had the benefit of watching him lead the company and it became evident to us that Bill McCracken has the knowledge, industry expertise, and experience to take CA to the next level," board member Gary J. Fernandes, who headed the search committee, said in a statement. "The board unanimously decided that Bill was the best choice to sustain the company's momentum and lead it going forward."
McCracken, 67, joined CA's board in 2005 and became non-executive chairman in 2007. Before joining the IT management software company, he held numerous executive positions at IBM. During a 36-year career with the IT vendor, McCracken served as general manager of the IBM Printing Systems Division and general manager of worldwide marketing of IBM PC Company.
In taking the helm at CA, McCracken will be heading a far more stable company than the one led by Swainson. In joining CA as CEO in February 2005, Swainson took over a company reeling from a disastrous $2.2 billion accounting scandal and insider trading by previous chief executive and chairman Sanjay Kumar and some of his top deputies.
Under Swainson's leadership, the company renamed itself from Computer Associates to CA, increased operating margins 50%, doubled earnings per share, and saw the three major credit agencies upgrade CA's credit back to investment grade.