Bloomin’ Brands’ CIO Has Led Digital, eCommerce, Human Resources, and Supply Chain Strategy

November 09, 2015
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by Peter High, published on Forbes


Donagh Herlihy is one of the first Chief Information Officers in the US to take on additional responsibilities. He did so when he took over the Human Resources function at Wrigley while he was still CIO nearly 15 years ago. Since then, he has been the CIO and Vice President of Supply Chain Strategy and Planning at Wrigley, CIO and Senior Vice President of IT and eCommerce at Avon, and now he is the Executive Vice President Digital and CIO at Bloomin’ Brands, which is a $4.5 billion revenue casual dining restaurant company based in Tampa, Florida.

Donagh’s catholicity has been remarkable, and he owes it to a combination of good timing, a desire to think of business outcomes first and IT second, and simply putting his hand up to let others know that he had this ambition. He believes others will likely follow in his footsteps, as he notes in this interview, and he offers a variety of lesson for those who wish to do so.

(To listen to an unabridged audio version of this interview, please visit this link. This is the 25th article in the CIO-plus series. To read the prior 24, please visit this link. To listen to future interviews in the series, please click the “Follow” link above.)

Peter High: I thought we might begin with Bloomin’ Brands. Could you take a moment to describe the business?

Donagh Herlihy: Bloomin’ Brands is one of the world’s largest casual dining restaurant companies with about 100,000 team members and we are headquartered in Tampa, Florida.

Our portfolio of brands includes Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill and the fine dining concept Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. We have close to 1,500 restaurants throughout 48 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and 22 countries. We are listed on the NASDAQ with revenues of about $4.5 billion annually.

High: Your role at Bloomin’ Brands is Executive Vice President of Digital, in addition to holding the title of Chief Information Officer. The topic of digital, as broad as it is, is certainly very hot these days. Could you take a moment to describe your responsibilities as the head of Digital?

Herlihy: The mission of our digital innovation team at Bloomin’ Brands is to create consumer relevant digital solutions that drive traffic to our restaurants, increase customer satisfaction and enable an ongoing relationship between our customers and our brands. The team is very cross functional and as they transform important aspects of our business, they need a leader on the executive leadership team to support them. I am fortunate to have that responsibility, but I also work closely with the brand’s Presidents and our CMO.

To read the full article, please visit Forbes

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