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Board-Level CIO Series Summary in Forbes

The Board-Level CIO series in Forbes explores what CIOs at some of the world’s most recognizable firms did that led to inclusion of the CIO seat at the organization’s board.

by Peter High, series on Forbes.com

When you look up the boards of prominent companies, they are typically littered with CEOs of other businesses. The reasons are obvious. The experience of CEOs of other businesses are relevant, and the advice that they can offer is likely to be the kind that will help augment revenue and/or cut costs as appropriate because no executive in any company thinks as much about these considerations as do the CEOs. The roles that have been the breeding grounds of CEOs, namely CFOs, COOs, and business unit heads have also been board members for the same reasons.

One “c-level” role that has not done nearly as well historically in gaining access to boards is the chief information officer. It is not as though CIOs have not had the ambition to become board members. In fact, of the many CIOs that I advise, over half have articulated their desire to join the boards of companies to me. Historically, there are a variety of reasons why this has been a difficult goal for CIOs to achieve, but there are now many reasons why CIOs are likely to gain greater traction. I explore these reasons in detail in the kick-off article for this series.

Many leading CIOs are blazing a new path that others are sure to follow. Organizations will increasingly think about including the strongest CIOs on their boards to ensure that they do not have any blind spots in their plans both from an innovation and from a risk mitigation perspective.

The series will include the following board-level CIOs, among others:

Below are the Board-Level CIO series’ recent posts

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Cathie Kozik, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer of PSAV

Cathie is the Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at PSAV, the world’s largest event experiences company. As CIO, Cathie is responsible for ensuring that PSAV has the information solutions to improve effectiveness and efficiency in delivering services to customers.

Before joining PSAV, Cathie was the Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer at the Hub Group. Prior to joining the Hub Group, Cathie held a number of executive IT positions at Motorola, including several divisional Chief Information Officer roles, and, most recently, Corporate Vice President of their Global Solutions and Services Operations. Before Motorola, Cathie was the Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Tellabs. Cathie began her career at AT&T.

Cathie received her Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University and her MBA from the University of Chicago.

Cathie serves on the board of Northwestern Memorial Health Care.

To read the full article, please visit Forbes

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Kim Stevenson, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Data Center Infrastructure of Levono

Kim is the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Data Center Infrastructure at Lenovo, a multinational technology giant with $45 billion in revenue. In this role, Kim leads Lenovo’s data center infrastructure segment, high-performance computing and artificial intelligence segment, software-defined infrastructure segment, and the new IoT segment.

Prior to joining Lenovo, Kim was Chief Operating Officer of the Client, IoT, and Systems Architecture Group at Intel. Before that, she held several other senior executive positions at Intel including Corporate Vice President and CIO, and Vice President and General Manager of IT Operations and Services before that. Prior to joining Intel, Kim was Vice President and General Manager at Hewlett Packard Enterprise where she served customers in the Communications, Media and Entertainment industry. Before HPE, Kim was a Vice President at EDS. Kim spent the first two decades of her career at IBM.

Kim received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Business Management from Northeastern University, and an MBA from Cornell University.

Kim is a member of the board of directors for Boston Private, and previously sat on the boards of Cloudera, Riverbed Technology, among other companies.

To read the full article, please visit Forbes

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Randy Mott, Senior Vice President, Global Information Technology and Cheif Information Officer of General Motors

Randy is the Senior Vice President of Global Information Technology and Chief Information Officer of General Motors, a Fortune 10 company with revenues exceeding $145 billion. As CIO, Randy is responsible for the global IT strategy and all the IT assets, and serves as a member of the executive leadership team. Since becoming CIO in 2012, Randy has lead a major transformation which has dramatically changed the company’s approach to IT.

Prior to joining General Motors, Randy served as the Executive Vice President and CIO of HP. Before joining HP, Randy spent six years at Dell where he was Senior Vice President and CIO. Earlier in his career, Randy spent 22 years at Walmart where he held many positions, eventually working his way up to Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer.

Randy received his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

Randy serves on the Board of Directors for Dun & Bradstreet.

To read the full article, please visit Forbes

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Brad Strock, Chief Information Officer of PayPal

Fintech is a hot space at present, with many companies entering the space and threatening financial services stalwarts. It is an interesting time to check on the progress of the first ever global fintech company, PayPal. The company was famous for its early leaders such as Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, and Reid Hoffman, each of whom went on to make even bigger impacts in the world of technology.

I recently caught up with the company’s chief information officer Bradley Strock, who has been in his role for three and a half years. We discussed PayPal’s transformation into a more customer-centric company, giving customers more choices of funding vehicles. We also covered how PayPal has successfully navigated the shift to mobile finance, resulting in a 50 percent increase in mobile payment volume in 2017. Strock covered his priorities of security, stability, enabling the company’s business strategy, and improving the company’s ability to effectively collaborate. Strock believes that PayPal will play a big part in offering better financial options for the two billion people globally without financial services.

In January of this year, Strock joined the ranks of board-level CIOs, as he commenced a directorship with $700 million revenue Elevate Credit, Inc., which provides online credit solutions to non-prime consumers, typically defined as those with credit scores of less than 700.

Click here to read the full article

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Melanie Kalmar, Chief Information Officer of Dow

To say that Dow CIO Melanie Kalmar has a lot on her plate is an understatement. She has helped integrate two major acquisitions (Dow Corning and Dupont), is in the process of planning their divestiture, leads digital initiatives across the enterprise, runs Corporate Facilities, helped establish and runs Dow Services Business, all on top of running cybersecurity and infrastructure. Hers is a role that has all traditional aspects of IT, but also encompasses revenue-generating business and helps drive both customer and employee experience, as well. She covers this vast purview, the implications of the acquisitions and divestitures, the role that technologies like artificial intelligence and blockchain will play at Dow, among many other topics.

To read the full article, please visit Forbes

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Jody Davids, Chief Information Officer of PepsiCo

Jody Davids has been the chief information officer of four major companies: Cardinal Health, Best Buy, Agrium, and, since April of 2016, of PepsiCo. She had set the goal to be the CIO of a Fortune 200 company, and now she has done so multiple times over. She also set a goal of becoming a board-level CIO, and she accomplished that in January 2015, when she joined the board of the North Carolina-based healthcare company, Premier, Inc.

All of this is particularly remarkable given the fact that she started her career as an executive assistant at General Electric. It was during her time there when her ambition was awakened. She had an assignment that gave her exposure to the paygrades across the company, and she realized how much more she could pay if she joined the IT department. She would go on to do so, and enjoy stops at Apple and at Nike before accomplishing her goal of becoming a chief information officer. She describes her journey, key points along the way, the advice she has for fellow CIOs who wish to join boards, and much more in this conversation.

To read the full article, please visit Forbes

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Linda Jojo, EVP of Technology and Chief Digital Officer of United Airlines

Linda Jojo joined United Airlines as Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer in November 2014. Between then and mid-2017, a primary area of focus was improving the company’s mobile tools and apps for customers and employees. As the value she contributed increasingly was customer-facing, the justification of expanding her responsibilities was made. In the middle of 2017, she was promoted to EVP of Technology and Chief Digital Officer.

In addition to her responsibility for United’s technology platforms and analytics, Jojo took over strategy, development and deployment of United’s e-commerce, mobile app and commercial web platforms. With these expanded responsibilities, she and her team have profoundly impacted both top and bottom line of the airline.

Jojo has also joined the small but growing club of CIOs who have joined public boards, having joined the board of $31 billion revenue utility services holding company Exelon in September of 2015. She is a member of the Compensation & Leadership Development Committee and Finance & Risk Committee. She covers all of the above and more in this interview.

To read the full article, please visit Forbes

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Sheila Jordan, Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer at Symantec

It has been a remarkably eventful couple of years for Symantec. In early 2016, the company went through one of the largest corporate divestitures when it spun out its Veritas business. In June of 2016 the company acquired Blue Coat, and then followed that up with the acquisition of LifeLock in early 2017. The rationale was to focus on being a pure play cyber security company, with end-to-end solutions. In the process Symantec has built itself into the largest cyber security company in the world by revenue.

Sheila Jordan has been chief information officer of the company throughout the journey. She came to the company nearly four years ago from Cisco. The latter is a legendarily acquisitive company, and Jordan has leveraged her experience to develop a playbook of sorts for the team at Symantec to integrate each of the major companies it has acquired. She also has developed the company’s CustomerONE program, highlighting her team’s use of the company’s products. Jordan discusses all of the above and more in this interview.

Click here to read the full article

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Angela Yochem, Chief Information Officer at Rent-A-Center

Angela Yochem joined Rent-A-Center as chief information officer in May of 2016. Her skills as both a technology savvy CIO but also one with unusual business acumen were apparent early in her tenure, and she was asked to lead the digital transformation at that $3 billion revenue company, which is the largest in the rent-to-own industry.

She has also been unusually active as a board member, first at the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, and since October of 2016 at data analytics company, Rocana. She offers advice on how to achieve board membership for those who wish to follow in her footsteps among other topics we cover herein.

Click here to read the full article

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Rick King, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Thomson Reuters

Rick King has had an unusual path to the CIO role of Thomson Reuters. He began his professional career as a high school teacher and as a coach. In his mind, continues to play both roles. He has taken great pride in building great and loyal teams. Moreover, he has pushed Thomson Reuters to have a remarkably diverse mix of women in information technology, though he is first to note that he wants to push the envelope further on that front.

King has joined the elite but growing club of CIOs who have joined the boards of publicly traded companies, as he is on the board of the bank holding company, TCF Financial. In this interview, he offer insights on how others might follow his lead toward board membership, how best to leverage external partners, how to build world class teams, along with a variety of other topics.

Click here to read the full article

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Yvonne Wassenaar, Chief Information Officer at New Relic

Yvonne Wassenaar has been the Chief Information Officer of digital intelligence platform company, New Relic, for a bit more than two and a half years. She represents a rising trend among fast growing, Silicon Valley technology companies who reach a certain size after nearly a decade in business, and determine they need a CIO for the first time. (Recent interviewee, Mark Settle of Okta is another example of this.)

In choosing Wassenaar, New Relic’s executive team brought on someone with the killer combination of a technical background as an undergraduate coupled with an MBA followed by an extended period as a partner at Accenture. She brings equal measure of technical and business acumen together with deep problem solving skills. Not surprisingly, she has also gained board access, serving on the boards of multiple organizations, as well. We cover all of the above and more herein.

Click here to read the full article

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Why Your Company Should Consider Adding A CIO To The Board

When you look up the boards of prominent companies, they are typically littered with CEOs of other businesses. The reasons are obvious. The experience of CEOs of other businesses are relevant, and the advice that they can offer is likely to be the kind that will help augment revenue and/or cut costs as appropriate because no executive in any company thinks as much about these considerations as do the CEOs. The roles that have been the breeding grounds of CEOs, namely CFOs, COOs, and business unit heads have also been board members for the same reasons.

One “c-level” role that has not done nearly as well historically in gaining access to boards is the chief information officer. It is not as though CIOs have not had the ambition to become board members. In fact, of the many CIOs that I advise, over half have articulated their desire to join the boards of companies to me. Historically, there are a variety of reasons why this has been a difficult goal for CIOs to achieve, including the following…

Click here to read the full article

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Kim Stevenson, Chief Information Officer of Intel

Kim Stevenson has been the CIO of Intel for the past four years. As I have noted in the past, she has dramatically increased the value derived from IT by adopting the practices of the more traditional revenue centers of the company. One of the best examples of this is the development of an IT annual report that mirrors that of the company as a whole. (Check out her latest IT annual report here.) The theme of her latest annual report is “Intel: From the Backroom to the Boardroom.” This refers to IT’s becoming more relevant to the board of the company, but it is also a good summation of her own career in recent years.

Since becoming CIO, Stevenson has been on the boards of multiple companies including her current appointment to the board of Cloudera. Many CIOs wish to join boards these days, and Stevenson offers sage advice on way sin which others might follow in her footsteps. It begins by performing well internally, being transparent, and, if you truly wish to be a board-level CIO, making that known with anyone who might aid you in that process.

Click here to read the full article

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Lidia Fonseca, Chief Information Officer of Quest Diagnostics

Quest Diagnostics is a $7.5 billion provider of diagnostic testing information services. It collects vast amounts of data: twenty billion test results, one hundred fifty million medical test requisitions in 2014, and testing services that touch about one third of the adults in the US. It is up to Lidia Fonseca, Quest Diagnostics’ CIO to organize, tag, and structure the data so that the company can turn information into insights and insights into actions. By effectively categorizing and partitioning the data, the big data conundrum has turned into a massive opportunity for the company, and it has also made that data much more secure.

Fonseca’s depth of experience in data analytics, security, and developing innovations that are leading to revenue augmentation have brought her to the attention of those who need that experience at the board level. In July of 2014, she joined the board of Gannett, a $2.9 billion international media and marketing solutions company. In this interview, she discusses all the above and more, and toward the end of the interview, provides insights into how she successfully became a board-level CIO.

Click here to read the full article

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Linda Clement-Holmes, Chief Information Officer of Proctor & Gamble

Like many executives at Procter & Gamble, Linda Clement-Holmes has had a wide array of responsibilities at the $76 billion Cincinnati, Ohio-based consumer packaged goods company. She has been the chief diversity officer, the senior vice president of global business services, and the global information & decision solutions officer. This is emblematic of the way in which P&G thinks about talent management. Once a rising star has been identified, provide them both depth and breadth of experience. When Clement-Holmes became CIO, she had been groomed for years for this post, and came to it with a much deeper understanding of how value is created within her enterprise than most new CIOs.

Clement-Holmes managed a rare feat for a new CIO, as well, as she was already a board member of a multi-billion dollar public company, Cincinnati Financial Corporation,before she became chief information officer. For those who might wish to follow in her footsteps, she attributes not only the diversity of her experiences within P&G, but also her willingness to spend time on non-profit boards in preparing her for her for-profit board experience. Clement-Holmes goes on to describe the substance of her first IT strategy as CIO, the methods she has used to encourage future female leaders in IT and beyond, and the technology trends that particularly excite her.

Click here to read the full article

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Andi Karaboutis, Vice President of Technology and Business Solutions at Biogen

When I last spoke with Andi Karaboutis a little over a year ago, she was the CIO of Dell. Shortly after we spoke, she moved to $10 billion, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotechnology firm, Biogen as the Executive Vice President of Technology and Business Solutions, a role definitively above the CIO role. She also joined the board of Advance Auto Parts, the $10 billion provider of automotive aftermarket parts based in Roanoke, Virginia.

I was interested to learn how Karaboutis managed the transition to a new, dynamic industry, to a broader set of responsibilities, what those responsibilities entailed, and how she pursued the path to board membership. Exemplifying the best characteristics of curious and humble autodidact, Karaboutis realized that she needed to learn the language of biotechnology so that she could speak lucidly with her new colleagues about the opportunities they hoped to seize and the issues they hoped to resolve. She also recognized that with her growing responsibilities coupled with her being on the audit committee of the Advance Auto Parts board both required a greater familiarity with finance, so she took a course on the topic. This training has served her well, as she notes herein, and has allowed her to achieve level of what she refers to as “professional athleticism.”

Our conversation also covered technical innovation in the biotechnology setting, including the topic of the “Internet of Me.”

Click here to read the full article

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Mark Sunday, Chief Information Officer of Oracle

Mark Sunday has been the CIO of Oracle for ten years, and in that role, he has been the company’s first and best customer. As the CIO of a $38 billion company, his technology needs are quite complex, and he has been the first to use most of the company’s products and services over the past decade. As such, his team offers invaluable counsel to colleagues as to what works well, and what requires further refinement. Also Sunday has been an invaluable advisor to the company’s customers, many of whom are also CIOs. He speaks not as a sales person, but as a peer, and can offer a special depth of knowledge tying together CIOs’ needs with Oracle’s solutions.

Sunday has also joined the ranks of board-level CIOs, having been on the boards of multiple companies over the past decade and a half. He has found the experience invaluable, as it has pushed him to build skills as an advisor in addition to those as an operator in his day-job. He also has drawn insights from each board-level experience to develop innovations he can leverage within Oracle itself.

Click here to read the full article

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Filippo Passerini, Chief Information Officer of Proctor & Gamble

Next month, Filippo Passerini will conclude an exceptional career as an executive at Procter & Gamble. Passerini joined the company in his native Italy, and had a broad set of experiences in different countries and in different product areas before his ascent to become chief information officer, and eventually President of Global Business Services. This is not uncommon for people as talented as Passerini within P&G. Just as he was chosen for advancement early in his tenure, he has done the same in grooming the next generation of leaders. As a result, late last year, he transitioned his two roles to two able executives who had been groomed for each. This is a key component of P&G’s culture, as it has a bias toward promoting from within whenever possible.

Not surprisingly, Passerini is a part of the small but growing group of board-level CIOs, having joined the board of $5.7 billion United Rentals in early 2009.  In my conversation with Passerini, he offers thoughts on how he became board ready, why the trend of board-level CIOs is likely to grow, as well as providing thoughts about talent management and succession planning.

Click here to read the full article

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Chris Hjelm, Chief Information Officer of Kroger

Kroger Chief Information Officer Chris Hjelm has led IT at a number of leading companies such as FedEx, eBay, and Cendant prior to joining the $108 billion business, operating food retail and drug stores, multi-department stores, jewelry stores, and convenience stores nearly ten years ago. Not content to lead a mere support organization, Hjelm has always thought about the strategic use of technology, and has long been a contributor to top and bottom-line gains to the enterprises of which he has been a part.

For example, Hjelm has instituted a research and development-type function within Kroger IT to investigate new innovations. Examples include investments in locationing technology that help the company ensure enough people are at the cash register before a rush of people have arrived to check-out, and digital shelf signage that help associates and customers more readily find what they seek. He also encourages his team to think like customers as they shop for groceries.

It is no wonder that Hjelm has been asked to join a number of boards in his time, as other companies seek to have him bring the same creative thinking to their companies. In the process, he has forged a path that a variety of others should seek to follow.

Click here to read the full article

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Stephanie von Friedeburg, Chief Information Officer of the World Bank Group

Stephanie von Friedeburg is the CIO and Vice President of Information Technology Solutions at the World Bank Group. In that capacity, she has overseen a tremendous transformation of IT across the Group throughout the 186 countries in which it operates. A primary weapon in her arsenal has been better use of cloud technology. This has increased the flexibility of IT, while also enhancing the Bank’s information security around the globe.

Additionally, she has joined a small but growing group of CIOs who have been asked to join the boards of companies.  In addition to being a part of the  Bank-Fund Staff Federal Credit Union, von Friedeburg is on the board of Box.org. Part of the reason she has been board-ready has been the fact that she has a non-traditional background. With foreign policy degrees and an MBA from the Wharton School, von Friedeburg began her career at the Bank in non-technical roles. She has an auto-didact’s talent to learn quickly, while surrounding herself with a talented team with complementary strengths. She covers all the above and more in this interview.

Click here to read the full article

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Gregor Bailar, Former Chief Information Officer of Capitol One

Few CIOs accomplished so much in such a short amount of time as Gregor Bailar.  By the time he retired from Capital One, he had been a technology executive at Citibank and the Executive Vice President of Operations and Technology at NASDAQ prior to taking on the role of CIO of Capital One. He was in his mid-40s at the time of his departure. He was still in his 30s when he was invited to join his first board – that of Digitas, Inc. in 2001.  While at Capital One, he was invited to join the board of the Corporate Executive Board, a board that he is still a part of.  Today, he is no longer a CIO, but in addition to his public board affiliation, he sits on a number of non-profit boards, as well.  In this interview, he shares his path to gaining board access, the advantages that CIOs bring to boards, and reasons why more CIOs are likely to be asked to join boards in the future.

Click here to read the full article

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Angela Yochem, Global Chief Information Officer of BDP International

Angela Yochem is the Global Chief Information Officer of BDP International, a privately held, multi-billion dollar revenue company providing global logistics solutions to some of the largest companies in the world. The company specializes in movements of materials that require special handling, either across borders or special physical handling. Yochem notes that logistics is the “final frontier in competitive advantage for many of our customers.” Naturally, IT has a big role to play in facilitating the major logistics organization that fuels these competitive advantages.  For instance, many logistics operations provide historical and real-time data on the goods that they ship. Yochem’s IT department provides predictive analytics, scenario planning, and blended cost analyses to enable clients to make better decisions.

Yochem had an unusual path to become an IT executive. She studied music as an undergraduate before getting a master’s degree in computer science. Though she had learned to love technology as a child programming with her father, she credits the study of music, and the discipline and teamwork it takes to be successful as offering critical lessons for her in her rise through the ranks of numerous IT departments.

More recently, she has joined the boards of three subsidiaries of BDP International as well as the board of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh. In my interview with her, Yochem provides interesting insights into the path she took to become a board-level CIO, the insights she has brought to the boards she serves, and the insights she has brought back to her day-to-day responsibilities as a CIO.

Click here to read the full article.

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Tom Nealon, Board Member at Southwest Airlines and Fossil Group

Tom Nealon has achieved some of the highest heights in the IT world without ever having been trained as a technologist. He studied business at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and he credits his natural tendency to think about business value ahead of technology as a key to his success. He was the CIO of  Frito-Lay, Southwest Airlines, and J.C. Penney. He added such substantial value in his role as CIO at J.C. Penney that he was asked to take over a variety of other functions, including the company’s digital business and corporate strategy. It was also during this time that he was asked to join the boards of Southwest Airlines and Fossil Group.

Interestingly, Nealon claims to have never had the ambition to become a board-level CIO. He always focused on the tasks he was given, stretched them to ensure that a higher than expected degree of business value was generated from the IT function, and in the process more opportunities presented themselves.

Click here to read the full article.

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Ralph Szygenda, Former Group Vice President and Chief Information Officer of General Motors

Ralph Szygenda was one of the first star CIOs in the US.  He was the CIO of Texas Instruments from 1989 through 1993, the CIO of Bell Atlantic from 1993 through 1996, and then he took on perhaps the largest IT job in America as CIO of General Motors in 2000, and he would remain in that post through 2009.  Szygenda’s was among the first CIOs to be asked to join the boards of major companies, starting 20 years ago. He has been on seven boards since.  Szygenda has also been quite influential in terms of the number of major company CIOs who once worked for him.  Given the size scale of operations that he led, and the long period in which he was a CIO, that is not surprising.

I was curious about what he got out of his board participation, what, in turn, the companies valued from his counsel, and what lessons he might impart on CIOs who would wish to follow in his footsteps.

Click here to read the full article.

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Patty Morrison, Chief Information Officer and Head of Customer Care Shared Service at Cardinal Health

As the chief information officer of a $101 billion colossus Cardinal Health, Patty Morrison has the biggest IT role in healthcare. This is fitting for an executive who has been a successful CIO at five major corporations. She was so successful in her CIO role, in fact, that she now also  serves as executive vice president of customer shared services for the company, focusing increasingly on top-line as well as bottom line opportunities for the company through the creative use of technology.  Morrison has also served on the board of two companies, Splunk and JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts.

As she notes in my interview with her below, the role of CIO is ideal for the executive who wishes to understand how a business truly works, and it increasingly is a role that is becoming customer-centric, as customers in all industries are becoming more technology savvy.  Lastly, she notes that the CIO’s perspective should be one that more companies seek on their boards. With this in mind, Morrison advises CIOs to weave themselves more solidly into the fabric of the businesses that they are a part of, learning how value is created, and the role that technology can play in achieving value faster.

Click here to read the full article.

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Brian Bonner, Chief Information Officer of Texas Instruments

Brian Bonner is the CIO of Texas Instruments, a $13 billion dollar semi-conductor company, and he manages a central IT organization that supports all aspects of IT including manufacturing, sales, and product development throughout the world. His organization is 1,100 people strong. Although Bonner has engineering degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels, he spent time in a wide array of functions outside of IT, such as his role as vice president of Worldwide Mass Marketing and Acquisition Integration at Texas Instruments. He has also held general management, sales, and product development roles and was responsible for product strategy & development as well as revenue generation. His vast experience across nearly 20 years at Texas Instruments has made him a particularly business savvy IT executive, and it has meant that he has not been patient with any perception of IT as a support organization.

His business savviness has also made him an attractive candidate to sit on boards of different kinds. Currently, he is a board member of Copper Mobile and he is an advisory board member to for Gemini Israel Ventures. Bonner says that board membership has made him a much stronger executive at Texas Instruments, and recommends that others who might seek a board position first work on demonstrating business value in their current roles as CIO, demonstrating that they have the know-how necessary to become a board-level CIO.

Click here to read the full article.

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Helen Cousins, Chief Information Officer of Lincoln Trust Company

Helen Cousins represents the quintessential curious networker that a chief information officer ought to be. Until recently, she was the Executive Vice President and CIO of Lincoln Trust Company. She was also a board member of the company.  Prior to that, she was CIO both of Dex Media and of Cendant Corporation. She was also in the 2012 class of CIO magazine’s prestigious CIO Hall of Fame. You would think then that she was destined to be a CIO from the outset of her career. Far from it.

After Cousins graduated from high school, she became the receptionist for a bank. Realizing she could do those duties pretty easily, her curiosity led her to other departments of the company, slowly learning how each department fit with others. She began filling in for people if they were away on a temporary basis.  She eventually received a bachelor’s degree and then an MBA, but it was this curiosity to understand businesses that began when she was the most junior person at a bank that has served her well as she has risen. Upon becoming CIO, she realized that an ability to network through the organization, and to find common needs or opportunities articulated in multiple parts of the organization, tying them together before the leaders who articulated them realized they could be that set her apart as an extraordinary leader. She is a rare CIO to become a board member of her own company, but that was the role she played at Lincoln Trust. Although Cousins has many skills that are innate, and therefore tough to teach, she nevertheless imparts a great many insights in my interview with her for IT executives who wish to follow in her footsteps.

Click here to read the full article.

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Rob Carter, Co-Chief Executive Officer and Chief Information Officer of FedEx Corporate Services

There are few chief information officers with as stellar a reputation as Rob Carter’s. He has played an integral role in FedEx’s sophisticated logistics and analytics systems, which have been sources of efficiency for the company and its customers, and have fueled tremendous revenue growth at the same time. It is not surprising that Carter has been asked to sit on the boards of multiple companies including Saks Incorporated and First Horizon National Corporation.  He has added tremendous value to each board, but as he notes herein, he has also gained a lot for himself and for his company in the process. It has afforded him tremendous insights into two industries of critical importance to FedEx (retail and financial services), and it has continued to hone his business skills.

It is that last point that he reiterated multiple times in my conversation with him: IT leaders need to think in terms of business value, and need to communicate in a similar fashion to other executives across the company. These are pre-requisites to be asked to lead other functions, as Rob has done, but they are also pre-requisites for CIOs with the ambition to join the boards of other companies as well.

Click here to read the full article.

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