I would like to introduce a new series, which I refer to as “Beyond CIO.” There is a growing cadre of former CIOs who have been promoted or hired into positions that continue to take advantage of their technical acumen, but provide them with expanded purviews. Most of the executives that will be profiled will be CEOs, COOs, or other senior executives who were former CIOs or CTOs. Again, this is a diverse lot, including executives from companies like:
- Katrina Lane, Executive Vice President of Consumer Cards & Experiences of American Express
- Duane Anderson, Chief Operating Officer of Marquette Group/ USMotivation
- Asiff Hirji, Former CIO, COO, and President of T.D. Ameritrade
- Tan Chee Hong, Chief Operating Officer of Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminal Limited (Hactl)
- Bruce Parker, Former Chief Executive Officer of AirNet Systems
- Chris Lofgren, Chief Executive Officer of Schneider National
- Ben Allen, President of Marsh & McLennan Agency
- Vivek Kundra, Executive Vice President of Emerging Markets of Salesforce.com
- Greg Carmichael, President and Chief Operations Officer of Fifth Third Bank
- John Hinshaw, Executive Vice President of Technology and Operations of Hewlett-Packard
- John Boushy, Chief Executive Officer of Ameristar Casinos
- Mark Polansky, Managing Director of Information Technology Officers Practice at Korn/Ferry
- Bob Willett, Chairman of Meta Pack, Eagle Eye, and Occahome
- Stephen Gillett, Chief Operating Officer of Symantec
- Meg McCarthy, Executive Vice President of Operations and Technology at Aetna
- Tracey Rothenberger, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Ricoh Americas Corporation
- Shaygan Kheradpir, CEO of Juniper Networks
- Suren Gupta, Executive Vice President of Technology and Operations at Allstate
- Jean Michel-Ares, Group Head of Technology and Operations at BMO Financial Group
- Andre Mendes, Interim CEO of the Broadcast Board of Governors
- Marina Levinson, Partner at Benhamou Global Ventures
- Puneet Bhasin, Senior Vice President of Corporate Operations and President of Recycle America at Waste Management
- Andi Karaboutis, Vice President of Technology and Business Solutions at Biogen
- Mike Capone, Chief Operating Officer at Medidata Solutions
- Timothy Kasbe, Chief Operating Officer at Gloria Jeans
- Chris Perretta, Global Head of Enterprise Data and Technology at State Street
- Guy Chiarello, President of First Data Corporation
- Terry Bradwell, Chief Enterprise Strategy and Innovation Officer of AARP
- Brian Lillie, Chief Customer Officer and Executive Vice President of Technology Services of Equinix
- Greg Carmichael, President and Chief Executive Officer of Fifth Third Bancorp
- Cynthia Earhart, Chief Financial Officer of Norfolk Southern
- Thaddeus Arroyo, Chief Executive Officer of AT&T Business
- Linda Jojo, EVP of Technology and Chief Digital Officer of United Airlines
- David Bray, Executive Director of People-Centered Internet
- Stephen Gillett, Co-Founder and CEO of Chronicle
- Dan Olley, Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President of Product Development at Elsevier
- Tom Keiser, Chief Operating Officer of Zendesk
- Gary Reiner, Operating Partner at General Atlantic
- Albert Hitchcock, Chief Operating and Technology Officer of Pearson
- Mike Capone, Chief Executive Officer of Qlik
- Sasan Goodarzi, Incoming CEO of Intuit
- Mark Showers, Managing Partner at RGAX
- All of them have thought about business value first, and technology second
- Most have worked in other business disciplines prior to ascending to the CIO role
- Many work within organizations that promote from within
- A majority have an MBA or advanced degree in a business discipline
- Many also have spent time as consultants
Below are the Beyond CIO Series’ most recent posts:
Reinsurance Group of America (RGA) is a $13 billion dollar global life and health reinsurance entity based in St Louis, Missouri. A few years ago, the company developed a subsidiary called RGAX that is part innovation lab and part venture arm, focused on transformative initiatives. On its own site, RGAX is noted as “embracing the talent, resources, and more than 40 years of insight and innovation experience. RGAX partners with carriers and entrepreneurs to fuse industry expertise and outside capabilities.”
Two years ago, when RGA sought a leader of this function, they elected to elevate the chief information officer of the company, Mark Showers. He led RGA’s IT team for more than seven years, and, as such, knew the business inside and out. As RGAX would require defining areas ripe for transformation and build an ecosystem in the start-up and venture world to help deliver that. In this interview, he shares insights from his current role, how his time as CIO helped provide him the wherewithal to take it on, and as well as a variety of other topics.
In January, Sasan Goodarzi will become CEO of Intuit, the $6 billion business and financial software company known for products such as TurboTax, Quickbooks, and Mint. Prior to being named CEO, Sasan has held a variety of leadership roles during his 14 years with Intuit, including CIO. In preparation for the CEO role, Sasan has rolled out a one hundred day onboarding plan, and he has gone on an extensive listening tour focused on how Intuit can create a stronger culture, deliver better for its customers, and develop more opportunities for the company.
In this interview, Sasan stresses the importance of a strong culture and why it is critical to deliver to your customers quickly. Since its founding in 1983, it has been Intuit’s goal to innovate, empower its employees, and remove obstacles so that they can best serve customers. Intuit was recently recognized as the thirteenth best place to work by Fortune Magazine, which Sasan credits to the employees’ willingness to do anything to help others achieve greatness for customers. We also discuss Sasan’s view on artificial intelligence, why the CIO role was his favorite, and how Sasan’s career ambitions have changed over time.
Mike is the Chief Executive Officer of Qlik, a leading provider of analytics software and visualization analytics. As CEO, Mike is responsible for leading Qlik’s mission to become the leader in the analytics economy.
Prior to Qlik, Mike was the Chief Operating Officer of Medidata Solutions. Before Medidata Solutions, Mike spent 26 years at ADP in a variety of senior leadership positions including Chief Information Officer, Head of Product Development, and General Manager of Global HR/Payroll.
Mike received his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Dickinson University and his MBA from Pace University.
Albert is the Chief Operating and Technology Officer at Pearson, the 174-year-old, £4.5B British education and publishing company. In this role, Albert has been responsible for overseeing the company’s multi-step digital transformation, as well as procurement, supply chain, customer service, and real estate.
Prior to joining Pearson, Albert was the Group Chief Information Officer at Vodafone. Before Vodafone, Albert was the Chief Information Officer at Nortel Networks.
Albert received his Bachelor of Science in Electronic Engineering at South Devon College of Arts and Technology and his MBA from Exeter University.
Gary is an Operating Partner and part of the Resources Group at General Atlantic, a global growth equity firm that has over $20 billion dollars in assets under management. As an operating partner, Gary is responsible for providing strategic support and advice to the firm’s investment teams and portfolio companies with a focus on strategy and technology.
Before joining General Atlantic, Gary was the Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at General Electric, where he led the mergers & acquisitions, sourcing, IT, operations, and quality teams. Prior to joining General Electric, Gary was a partner at the Boston Consulting Group.
Gary received both his Bachelor of Arts in Economics, as well as his MBA from Harvard University.
Gary currently serves on the boards of Citigroup, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Box, Mu Sigma, and Turbonomic, among other companies.
Tom is the Chief Operating Officer of Zendesk, a cloud-based provider customer service and engagement platform with nearly half a billion dollars in revenue. Tom joined Zendesk as Chief Information Officer and has transferred many of those responsibilities to his role as Chief Operating Officer. In addition to IT, security, and analytics, Tom is primarily responsible for operations, go-to-market, and customer-facing functions.
Before joining Zendesk, Tom was the Executive Vice President of Global Product Operations and Chief Information Officer for Gap. Prior to Gap, Tom was the Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at L-Brands. Additionally, Tom invests in and advises a number of technology startups.
Tom received his Bachelors of Science in Systems Science from the University of West Florida.
Tom currently serves on the board of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area.
Dan is the Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President of Product Development at Elsevier, the 138 year old, $3.3 billion publisher which is now the science, technology, and healthcare division of RELX Group. As CTO, Dan is responsible for traditional IT, as well as evolving the company’s products in support of its transformation from a traditional print-based business to a digital solutions provider.
Before joining Elsevier, Dan was the Chief Technology Officer of Reed Business Information (formerly Reed Elsevier), a sister company within RELX Group. Dan joined Reed Business Information as the United Kingdom Chief Technology Officer and later became Global Chief Information Officer. Prior to joining RELX Group, Dan held technology and product development leadership roles with GM Financial, Wunderman Cato Johnson, and IBM, as well as a number of UK and international software organizations.
Dan was one of TechRepublic’s ‘The top 50 CIOs”, and was inducted into the CIO hall of fame in 2017.
Stephen is the co-founder and CEO of Chronicle, a cybersecurity company born out of Alphabet’s Moonshot factory X (formerly Google X) that aims to “10X the speed and impact of security teams by making it easier, faster, and more cost-effective for them to capture and analyze security signals that have previously been too difficult and expensive to find.” As CEO, Stephen is building the team, setting the vision and strategy, and developing relationships with potential customers.
Prior to founding Chronicle, Stephen was a senior leader and advisor at X. While at X, Stephen explored the potential for a cybersecurity moonshot and developed the concept for Chronicle. Stephen’s collaboration with X grew out of his position as Executive in Residence at GV (formerly Google Ventures), where he was a resource and mentor to the entrepreneurs of the fund’s portfolio companies. Prior to joining Alphabet, Stephen was the Chief Operating Officer of Symantec. Prior to Symantec, Stephen was the President of Digital, Marketing, and Operations at Best Buy. Before Best Buy, Stephen was the Chief Information Officer and GM of Digital Ventures at Starbucks. Prior to Starbucks, Stephen held a number of IT leadership roles at Corbis, Yahoo!, CNET and Sun Microsystems.
Stephen received a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from the University of Oregon, and an MBA from San Francisco State University.
Late last year, David Bray became the first Executive Director of the People-Centered Internet (PCI), an organization that has a vision of creating projects that help improve people’s lives using the Internet. Vint Cerf, the co-creator of the Internet, is a co-founder of PCI.
Bray has a remarkable career in government prior to PCI. He began his career in government as a 15-year-old working at the Energy Department in the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility. Since then his experiences have included stints as an IT Chief for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response program, where he led the program’s technology response to 9/11 and the 2001 anthrax attacks, and as a Senior Strategist at the Institute for Defence Analysis (IDA) and a Defense Researcher at the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI), where he deployed to Afghanistan to help “think differently” on military and humanitarian issues. Bray spent the past several years at the Federal Communications Commission.
As he embarks on an entrepreneurial journey of sorts, I was curious how Bray’s government experience has helped prepare him for this role. He indicated that there are two advantages to government experience for an entrepreneur: first, it teaches one how to operate with resource constraints, and second, it provides experience in navigating across multiple constituencies.
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.
Thaddeus Arroyo has a remarkable journey in technology. He began his career in telecommunications, eventually became an IT executive at Sabre, and then returned to telecommunications as the Chief Information Officer of Cingular Wireless. Via acquisition, he would later join AT&T and become the company’s global CIO.
As he describes it, Arroyo was fortunate to be exposed to growth-oriented, innovative, and transformative opportunities. This included time as the President of Technology Development at AT&T. In that role, Arroyo was responsible for the development of AT&T’s products and services, digital experiences for customers, and systems supporting the operations across AT&T business segments, networks, and services. He notes that, “These experiences equipped me with a broad perspective across many technology and business operation disciplines, and this set me on the path to acquiring the skills required for any successful business leader.”
Opportunity called in Mexico when AT&T acquired multiple businesses in that market, and Arroyo would become the CEO of AT&T Mexico for a two year period in 2015 through 2016. Earlier this year, he became the CEO of AT&T Business.
Arroyo believes that this rapid rise beyond the CIO role will be accessible to many others. He believes that great IT leaders who understand business processes as well as anyone, and who use their unique visibility across all business units to contribute and help drive the business strategy will follow in his footsteps.
Cynthia Earhart, Chief Financial Officer of Norfolk Southern
Historically, the chief information officer’s primary reporting relationship has been to the chief financial officer of the enterprise. The initial rationale for this included the fact that much of the initial value from IT was in helping save costs by automating financial processes, and likewise the historical perspective that IT departments are primarily cost centers to be driven down. Ironically, though this has historically been the predominant hierarchy, few CIOs have replaced their bosses and become CFOs.
Cynthia Earhart has been one of the few to successfully walk that path. Among the many roles that she has played at Norfolk Southern since joining the company in 1985 has been that of executive vice president and chief information officer of the company. Earhart has a CPA, and had joined the company in the Accounting department. On her path through the CIO role, she continued to ensure that her teams had appropriate financial acumen while continuing to sharpen her own. As such, due to the value she contributed both to the top and bottom lines of the company, this unusual career path became relevant. What is the likelihood of others following in her footsteps? Earhart offers thoughts on her remarkable journey.
Greg Carmichael, President and Chief Executive Officer of Fifth Third Bancorp
When Greg Carmichael joined Fifth Third Bancorp in June of 2003, it was a chief information officer, a role he held at his prior company, Emerson Electric. He thought joining Fifth Third would provide an opportunity to learn a new industry, to face new challenges, and to return to his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. What he did not realize at that time was that he was beginning a journey that would take him from CIO to CEO of the company.
His path began even before he joined Emerson, he was an IT leader at General Electric. He saw at an early age the power that the CIO could have in as much as it touched ever employee of the company, and increasingly most customers, as well. As such he recognized how strategic IT truly could be. He thought about the revenue implications of IT much earlier than the average CIO. This continued at Fifth Third, and by 2012, he was offered the COO role. He would ascend to the top post three years later. In this interview, he reflects on his remarkable journey.
Brian Lillie, Chief Customer Officer and Executive Vice President of Technology Services of Equinix
Brian Lillie set his sights on the becoming a chief information officer early in his career, and he carefully planned the moves necessary to get there. He determined he would lead each of the functions that make up a traditional IT department. Through his beginnings in technology at the Air Force, to time spent at Silicon Graphics, and then at Verisign, he gathered the necessary experiences. Then he took a left turn and spent a year getting a master’s degree in Management from Stanford Graduate School of Business. When he came back to Verisign, it was as Vice President of Global Sales Operations. Through this experience, he gained invaluable customer-centric experience and insights.
When Lillie joined Equinix in 2008, he finally realized his dream, becoming CIO, but he made this role a much more customer-centric one than is typical. As a $3.6 billion leader in the global colocation datacenter space, the company’s customers are often CIOs and their IT teams. As such, he was able to serve as a empathetic peer to his company’s customers, while also making the case for the use of Equinix’s offering. He also established an Equinix-on-Equinix program, ensuring that his team was the first and best customer of the company, making his team’s insights sharper when working with customers.
Terry Bradwell, Chief Customer Officer and Executive Vice President of Technology Services of Equinix
Terry Bradwell is not only an executive at AARP, he is a member. He has risen from chief information officer to chief enterprise strategy and innovation officer at the $1.5 billion, Washington, DC based non-profit that advocates for Americans who are over 50. He notes that though he is 54 years old, he is not the same 54 that his father was, and, in turn, in a few years, a 54 year old at that time will have a different makeup than he does. This notion drives his ambition toward continuous innovation.
This orientation toward innovation began when Bradwell was the company’s chief information officer. Having spent time as a consultant in IBM’s Media and Entertainment practice, he developed a strong business acumen that meant that as he joined IT departments, he did not accept that the department should be relegated to a supporting role.
Guy Chiarello, President of First Data Corporation
Guy Chiarello has been a towering figure at the intersection between financial services and technology for multiple decades. He foresaw the power of digital business as Chief Information Officer of JPMorgan Chase before digital was the term of art or a department within corporations. He and his team there were responsible for the award-winning Chase Mobile App Suite, which grew its customer base to more than 10 million users in its first two years. He was also among the first to usher in peer-to-peer payments at scale. Perhaps most critical to his success, at a remarkably early period, he understood the power of pushing his businesses to think of IT as a source of innovation, and he ensured that he recruited the kinds of people who could deliver on that promise.
Not so surprisingly, Chiarello has risen definitively above the CIO role, now occupying the role of President of First Data Corporation. As president of the $11 billion global payment technology solutions company that handles almost half of all US credit and debit transactions, he and his team have even more room to leverage technology to innovate. I was interested to hear him reflect on his rise, how he interacts with his CIO and CTO, now that he is their boss, and where his attention is focused for the years ahead.
Chris Perretta has been an IT executive at State Street Bank since 2007, with most of his tenure spent as chief information officer. A few months ago, he advanced beyond that role to become the Global Head of Enterprise Data and Technology at the company. The role was created as an acknowledgement of the sanctity of data, and digital advances that State Street hopes to lead. Perretta has led a significant transformation of the information technology function in order to help realize this vision. First, he standardized and simplified IT. Next, he implemented what he refers to as “industrial agile.” He also re-organized the IT team significantly, and created a greater emphasis on customer experience and innovation. Perretta describes all of the above and more in this interview.
Timothy Kasbe has been a chief information officer at three major companies, Reliance Industries, Sears, and Intrexon. For the past three and a half years, he has been the Chief Operating Officer of Gloria Jeans, a Russian retailer that is among the fastest growing retailers in the world. Kasbe credits his rise to being a business leader first and a technologist second. He also spent a decade as a consultant to the retail industry, and as such advised executives across the industry. He believes that CIOs who are oriented as he is will increasingly find opportunities to rise to the role of COO among others.
Mike Capone is the chief operating officer of the largest technology company founded in New York by market capitalization – Medidata Solutions, which is a $400 million revenue company that provides cloud-based solutions for life sciences companies. Though new to the industry when he joined the company a year ago, he joined with a deep background in technology, having been the first ever Global CIO of ADP, in product development, having run that function at the global human capital management company. He also has a passion for health issues both personally and professionally, both of which led him to Medidata Solutions, where, as he notes in this interview, he felt he could change the world. This opportunity also put him squarely in the middle of the growing technology scene in New York City.
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.”
Puneet Bhasin, Senior Vice President of Corporate Operations and President of Recycle America at Waste Management
For years, people have predicted the demise of the chief information officer role. First, it was because it was deemed to be a back-water support organization, and ironically of late it has been predicted because it has become so strategic to all parts of the enterprise that division and business unit leaders would simply take over the function. When Puneet Bhasin was promoted above the CIO role in earlier this year without a successor named, I was fascinated to see if this was a rare example of a company buying into the logic of the end of the CIO role. As it turns out, the decision is not so black-and-white.
I have interviewed Bhasin before about his interesting career path, and his significant “CIO-plus” responsibilities, and I hoped to learn more about how his career had progressed in the many months since he and I had last caught up, and what these decisions might mean for the future of the CIO role.
Marina Levinson has had a distinguished career as a CIO at multiple companies in Silicon Valley including NetApp and Palm. When she left the former company in September of 2011, she started a company that helped venture capitalists establish CIO advisory boards, among other things. As she became more involved with VCs, she discovered that it was a field of interest.
In April of 2014, Levinson joined Benhamou Global Ventures as a partner. She brings the experience of a practitioner and a former buyer of technology, which has been invaluable to the company’s portfolio of enterprise technology start-ups.
Levinson has serves on the boards of a number of companies, including Ellie Mae, for which she is the Chair of the Technology Advisory Board. Levinson’s path is highly unusual, but she believes that others will soon follow in her footsteps, as technology opportunities in the form of innovation and issues in the form of cybersecurity concerns dominate the agendas of boards far and wide.
As interim CEO of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), Andre Mendes sits atop a broadcasting enterprise with as broad a reach as any in the western world. Unlike some other organizations that you might think of among leaders in this space, the BBG operates in the corners of the world that tend to be most inhospitable to the dissemination of unfiltered media. What makes Mendes even more interesting is his path to his current perch. He was a chief information officer before his further rise. As Mendes notes, however, with so much of media being dominated by new media, much of it of a social variety, his background as a technology executive are quite suitable to the times. In this interview, Mendes describes the mandate of the BBG and its various brands such as Voice of America, the traditional and new media methods he and his colleagues use, and his own unique path to become interim CEO.
Jean-Michel Ares has been the CIO of such august organizations as Coca Cola and GE Power Systems prior to assuming his current role as Group Head of Operations and Technology at BMO Financial in Toronto. His strong background makes it less of a surprise that he has moved beyond CIO. He has an advanced degree in electrical engineering and an MBA, both from McGill University in Montreal. He also spent time as a telecommunications and banking consultant at McKinsey & Company. He strongly believes that more CIOs will advance to operations leadership posts among other roles above the CIO role due to the natural tendency for those who occupy the role to be highly networked, and equally comfortable in taking on risk through the development of innovative ideas and risk mitigation, represented by investments in security, for example.
Though he is correct that more CIOs are likely to follow in his footsteps, it is no wonder that he was one of the pioneers, given his drive to push IT to be both a driver of efficiencies, but also a source of potential revenue augmentation.
Allstate Executive Vice President of Technology & Operations Suren Gupta has a remarkably diverse background. He spent time as Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Consumer Lending at Wells Fargo, but he focused as much time on developing technologies that enhanced customer experience as he did on traditional IT. For example, he re-engineered the company’s real estate lending with new delivery capabilities that enabled the field sales force, enabling them to serve customers more effectively with just-in-time information. He was an entrepreneur, having co-founded a start up wireless Internet venture called Airclic. He also held senior operations, sales, marketing and strategic development roles at INTELSAT, a telecommunications company, and at Thomson Corporation before leading technology and operations at GMAC. Finally, he has the classic background that so many of the people profiled in the “Beyond CIO” series, with an engineering undergraduate degree, and an MBA. He combines technology and business acumen together with an entrepreneurs eye toward customer-centric innovation.
He has brought all of this to bear in his current role at Allstate. He is directly responsible for technology that can be applied to the company’s products and services. He also runs the company’s back-office operations. A big piece of the operations role is also customer service and agency customer service. The company has 10,000 agents across the nation that Gupta’s team serves through the products and services that they bring to them to sell on behalf of the company’s customers. The second piece of that customer service side is when a customer has a need that has not been fulfilled or a problem – his team is responsible for that, as well.
At the Wall Street Journal’s CIO Network event, the 120 or so chief information officers who were in attendance were polled to see how many of them had the ambition to become a CEO one day. 70 percent answered that they were, in fact interested. Although the law of averages would suggest that most of those executives will not reach that goal, some will. Thankfully, there are more examples of executives who these CIOs can look to for inspiration and insight. Shaygan Kheradpir is one of them.
Kheradpir is the CEO of Juniper Networks, but spent a good chunk of his career in IT departments, first at GTE, and then as CIO of Verizon. It is also notable that he lives in an area where university-level education has been deemed by some to be less important than it once was, and yet he has a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University. Instead of roots in the start-up community or in Silicon Valley, Juniper Networks was his first Silicon Valley experience. After his time at Verizon, Kheradpir moved on to become the Chief Operations and Technology Officer at Barclays PLC. The diversity of roles he has had and industries that he has served highlight how Kheradpir has thought about his career path a little differently. When asked about his path, he suggests that he has always thought a bit beyond the parameters of each role he has had, and thought more broadly about the value that he can provide to others in the company. He also emphasizes the importance of great mentors along the way.
Tracey Rothenberger joined Ricoh Americas Corporation by virtue of the company’s acquisition of IKON Office Solutions. He was Chief Information Officer of IKON at the time of the acquisition, and he maintained the position upon joining Ricoh. An open communicator, Rothenberger prides himself on his ability to draw insights about the plans and needs of his colleagues to advise them on how to bring their plans to life through technology and the better use of information. This tendency led to him becoming a CIO-plus, adding the responsibilities of Chief Process Officer, as it was evident that he could drive significant process change for the entire company.
As his perspective grew, the value he contributed to Ricoh Americas grew with it and he was promoted in March of last year to become Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Ricoh Americas. As has been the case with other executives who have been profiled in the “Beyond CIO” series, leveraging the unique vantage point that the CIO has in the corporate structure to synchronize efforts, and identify innovative ideas that add value in multiple divisions of the company lends itself well to the aggrandizing of responsibilities. In this interview with Rothenberger, he speaks about the advantage of his time as CIO and how the experiences lent themselves well to his current role as COO.
Meg McCarthy has many of the common characteristics of other executives who have been featured in the Beyond CIO series. She has a non-technical graduate degree in the field that she has long been linked to (the degree is a master of public health with a concentration in hospital administration); she spent time as a partner in a major consulting firm, Ernst & Young, and a senior manager at another one, Accenture; she has been an IT executive at multiple major companies, including at CIGNA. Despite having a focus on technology for most of her career, McCarthy has focused on business outcomes first and foremost and technology secondarily. The former defines the ends, and the latter is simply the means.
Soon after McCarthy joined Aetna a decade ago, she climbed the rungs from CIO to head of Business Solutions Delivery, which brought together all IT project management, development, quality engineering, and IT-related business-process reengineering functions, necessary to create, develop and deliver end-to-end business solutions. She then became senior vice president of Innovation, Technology, and Service Operations. Finally, near the end of 2010, McCarthy took on her current role as executive vice president of Operations and Technology. In that role, she continues to have responsibility for clinical innovation, technology and service operations, but she has added responsibility for process and performance improvement, procurement, and real estate services for Aetna.
Stephen Gillett first became a chief information officer in his early 30s. He rose to become a CIO-plus at Starbucks, holding the CIO role in addition to being the executive vice president of Digital Ventures. After a brief stint as president of Digital, Global Marketing & Strategy at Best Buy, he took on his current role as chief operating officer of Symantec. Still in his mid-30s, Gillett embodies the characteristics of that rare but growing number of executives who have risen beyond CIO. Not so typical to the group, however, he was an offensive guard on the University of Oregon football team. During his time as an undergrad, he started a business that provided technology support and consulting. The ambition and drive that were apparent during his time as an undergraduate have served him well, and provided some insight into the meteoric rise through the corporate world that would follow.
Bob Willett is an example of an executive who started on the shop floor and worked his way up to the top positions in the retail industry. He began at Marks & Spencer in his native United Kingdom in 1968 and would leave that company a decade later as a store executive. Before taking on the role of chief information officer of Best Buy, he had been the CEO of one company, head of Merchandise Operations for another, and then global managing partner of the Retail Practice and a member of the executive committee at Accenture. He advised many of the best retail operations around the world about matters of strategy.
It was during his time with Accenture starting in the early 1990s that Willett realized how essential IT had become and would continue to be to the industry that he knew so well. He leveraged the many smart colleagues he had at Accenture to learn, having had no formal training in IT. He learned enough to be asked to be CIO of Best Buy in 2001. He would become a CIO-plus by virtue of also being CEO of Best Buy International and the executive vice president of Operations. As Willett details below, he offers insights into what he learned during his successful run as an IT executive has served him well now that he is on a number of companies’ boards.
The Beyond CIO series has featured 11 executives to date who have made the leap from CIO to larger roles in major corporations from Hewlett-Packard to T.D. Ameritrade to Marsh & McLennan to Fifth Third Bancorp to Schneider National, to name just a few. I recently had a chance to speak with Mark Polansky about this topic to get a different point-of-view on this trend. Polansky is the Managing Director of Korn/Ferry’s North America Information Technology Officers practice, and has been involved in search for over 25 years. He has placed many of the best CIOs of the past three decades. As such, I was curious if he saw the trend of CIOs advancing “beyond” as a trend that would pick up steam, and what he saw as the differentiating factors for those who have succeeded with such opportunities.
John Boushy was one of the first truly strategic chief information officers in corporate America. At a time when most CIOs were leaders of support organizations that were more akin to order takers than proactive thinkers on behalf of the companies they served, Boushy was developing ideas that would help propel Harrah’s Entertainment to new heights in the casino gaming industry.
As Boushy highlights in my interview with him below, he took a different approach to the CIO role because he had held positions in a wide array of areas, not only in IT. He was the right hand-man to a CEO at a young age, had leadership positions in Marketing and Operations, and had profit and loss responsibility all prior to become CIO. Given the extraordinary reputation he earned at Harrah’s Entertainment is not surprising that he went on to become CEO of Ameristar Casinos. Here’s how he did it.
John Hinshaw has been an IT executive at three iconic corporations and with each successive position, the company and the role has increased in size. He was the senior vice president and chief information officer of Verizon Wireless, the head of the Information Solutions business unit and CIO at Boeing, and he is now the executive vice president of Technology and Operations at Hewlett-Packard. In his current role, the CIO and IT report to him, as do several other business units.
Hinshaw has overseen a radical restructuring of HP’s cost structure, rendering a significant portion of the company’s infrastructure into the cloud, developing more common processes, and fostering collaboration across his organization and across the company more generally. Hinshaw’s is an organization that provides the glue to the diverse $120 billion behemoth.
As Hinshaw describes, his knowledge of technology combined with a head for broader business concepts began at an early age.
Greg Carmichael was the chief information officer at multiple industrial behemoths before joining Fifth Third Bancorp FITB -0.25% as CIO in 2003. Although Fifth Third was smaller, revenue-wise, than was his prior employer, Emerson Electric EMR +0.54%, Carmichael was attracted to the challenge of learning a new industry that was very information dependent. He wove himself deeply into the operations of the business, and was able to drive significant business value from IT. Carmichael’s accomplishments have been rewarded as he has risen to the role of president and chief operation officer of Fifth Third Bancorp. In this interview, Carmichael provides advice for others who might wish to follow in his footsteps.
Vivek Kundra has had the kind of career that befits someone approaching retirement. He has been a CIO at the city, county, state, and federal levels. He was already established himself as a technology innovator as the as the chief technology officer of the District of Columbia, a role he took on at the age of 32. Then, at the age of 34, he was appointed by President Obama as the first ever federal chief information officer. He would institute programs that ushered in unprecedented transparency and cost savings in technology. Now, at the ripe old age of 38, Kundra is the executive vice president of Emerging Markets at salesforce.com. As he describes in the interview herein, each stop has built upon the steps prior, and his government service has offered deep insights which he has taken with him to the private sector.
There’s a saying that it’s better to have multiple roles in the same company than having the same role at many companies. The former lets you diversify your experiences, the latter can limit your professional growth. Given how central technology is to business today, it’s all the more important that rising executives consider a tour as a chief information officer along the path of their careers. The experience can really turbocharge their professional growth. I have written quite a bit about CIOs who have been asked to take on greater responsibilities, people I call the CIO-Plus. I am in the throes of writing another series, Beyond CIO, about technology executives who have risen to take on broader responsibilities. Ben Allen of Marsh & McLennan represents both trends. He joined Marsh & McLennan through Kroll, a global risk mitigation services organization that was part of the Marsh portfolio of companies. Allen was CEO of Kroll when Marsh sold it to Altegrity in 2010, but Brian Duperreault, the Marsh & McLennan CEO at the time, did not forget about Allen. The company created a new position in order to bring him back into the fold in May of 2011, that of chief innovation officer. When the company’s chief information officer left later that year, Allen took over those responsibilities, too.
As a reward for his great work, Allen was promoted to president of Marsh & McLennan Agency (MMA), a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh, dedicated to serving the insurance needs of middle market companies in the United States.
To the uninitiated, Schneider National may not seem like a technology-centric business. After all, the average person’s exposure to the company comes from driving next to or behind one of the company’s 14,000 tractors or 40,000 trailers. However, at its heart, it is a logistics business. CEOs have appreciated the role that technology could play in creating competitive advantage for the company since the 1970s.
Chris Lofgren joined Schneider National in 1994, and two years later, he was named chief information officer of the company. Lofgren has a Ph.D. in Industrial and System Engineering, and indicates in my interview with him herein that he would have been happy to have ended his professional journey as CIO. As it turns out, his skills and the value he had created for the company from the CIO position warranted an aggrandizement of his responsibilities, first to chief executive officer of Schneider Logistics (a subsidiary of Schneider National) in 2000, then to COO of entire company in 2001, and then finally CEO in 2002, which is the role he currently holds.
Lofgren believes that others will follow in his footsteps, and, in fact, the current chief administrative officer of Schneider National is a former CIO, who was also chief marketing officer along his journey. Schneider National clearly puts a premium on strong leaders no matter their discipline.
Bruce Parker has had a remarkable career for someone so humble and unassuming. I have not met many CIOs or CEOs (and he has been both) who are so comfortable in their skin and who have understood their strengths and exploited them while also analyzing gaps in their personal toolkits and filled them, as Parker has done.
Parker spent much of his time at two major airlines, American Airlines and United Airlines, as well as at Ryder. He was the CIO of the last two. While at United Airlines, he was asked by Sapient to join its board. So began a successful career as a member of multiple boards of directors. He finally ascended the corporate ladder beyond CIO to the CEO role of AirNet Systems, a small package express cargo airline.
Perhaps Parker’s greatest legacy has been the number of IT leaders he groomed. He not only left strong successors in place at Ryder and at United, but members of his team have become CIOs or CTOs at companies like ADP, Northern Trust Bank, A&P, Sabre, and Ecolab. Parker describes his path in our interview herein.
Tan Chee Hong has the ideal background for the IT executive who would rise to a larger role. He has an MBA, he was educated on multiple continents, and he has worked on multiple continents, both as a consultant and as a CIO multiple times over. He was CIO of Jardine Cycle & Carriage when he was plucked by Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl), one of the largest and most sophisticated air cargo terminals in the world, which operates as a gateway for air cargo to and from China. He joined Hactl as Executive Director of Information Services (CIO equivalent) & Operation Development. He was hired as a CIO-plus at the outset of his time with the company, which is a rare feat. No one had ever had that role simultaneously, but in Tan, Hactl had found a rare leader who could connect the dots between creative use of technology to stabilize the operation, and to delight an intricate web of customers and partners.
In March 2012, Tan was elevated to chief operating officer of Hactl, acknowledging his accomplishments in his prior role, and highlighting how deep the operations part of his role had become. He is yet another example of an executive who has moved “Beyond CIO.”
Where a lot of IT executives think of their careers as a game of checkers, planning one move at a time, Asiff Hirji has thought about his career as a game of chess, planning several moves in advance. He was an engineer by training, and realized he needed a more formal business education, so he got an MBA. He was a CIO multiple times over, most prominently at T.D. Ameritrade, but each time, he took on responsibilities beyond that role, eventually becoming president and COO of T.D. Ameritrade. In this interview, which is drawn from the Forum on World Class IT interview that I conducted with Hirji, he described the way in which he has managed his career, managed his colleagues, and now manages his portfolio of companies as a venture capitalist at TPG.
After getting an MBA, spending time as a consultant for a major consultancy, and serving under multiple legendary CIOs in various corporate positions, Duane Anderson joined Marquette Group/USMotivation in June of 2009. Marquette Group is a directional marketing agency that connects qualified, local customers to national brands by designing integrated media strategies. USMotivation is an incentive management company focusing on incentive strategies and awards, group travel and meetings, creative communications, and analytics. When Anderson joined this combined entity, it was his first role as CIO, but the moves that he made were as sophisticated as a seasoned veteran. He was ahead of the curve on cloud computing and virtualization, moving the vast majority of the companies’ infrastructure into the cloud, rendering what had long been a fixed cost into a much more variabilized cost structure. He also wove IT’s activities and projects more explicitly into the strategies of the rest of the organization. Lastly, he became much more end-customer-centric, spending time on customer calls, while also ingratiating himself to the field employees.
CIOs take heart: You don’t have to be an experimental physicist to win a promotion from the IT department into a line management role, but it can’t hurt, as the case of American Express executive Katrina Lane shows. Lane has been achieving at a high-level for a long time. She has a Ph.D. in Experimental Physics from Cornell, spent seven years as a consultant at McKinsey & Company, and took on marketing executive roles at multiple companies, ending up as the vice president of Channel Marketing at Caesars Entertainment. During her time in marketing, she collaborated with IT departments in developing data-driven marketing strategies, and implementing sophisticated customer relationship marketing (CRM) and business intelligence systems. She was so knowledgeable, in fact, that she was asked to take over IT as Caesars’ senior vice president and chief technology officer, the senior-most information technology role in the company.
I would like to introduce a new series, which I refer to as “Beyond CIO.” There is a growing cadre of former CIOs who have been promoted or hired into positions that continue to take advantage of their technical acumen, but provide them with expanded purviews. Most of the executives that will be profiled will be CEOs or COOs who were former CIOs. Again, this is a diverse lot, including executives from companies like American Express, T.D. Ameritrade, Caesars Entertainment, Schneider National, Fifth Third Bank, and HP, among others.
Chief operating officer has traditionally been a key role to have to put one’s self as “on-deck” to the top job. Chief financial officers have also hewn their path to the CEO role. Not long ago, it may have seemed absurd to think of the CIO as an important stop on the way to the top role in the company. Yet a group of special technology leaders have spent meaningful time as CIO but then continued the ascent beyond the role.