After executive IT positions with Verizon Wireless and Boeing, it is no wonder that John Hinshaw’s career took him beyond CIO at this $120 billion company.
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.
(The “Beyond CIO” series kicked off with this article, and the all past interviews in the series can be found here. If you are interested in future articles in the series with executives from companies like Symantec, Ameristar Casinos, and Aetna, among others, please return to the Technovation column in the coming weeks.)
Peter High: John, when you joined HP in late 2011, you did so as the executive vice president of Technology and Operations. You are a rare person who has been hired into a “beyond CIO” role from a CIO-plus role (you accomplished the latter by running the Information Solutions business unit while also being the CIO of The Boeing Company). Can you describe your current responsibilities?
John Hinshaw: In my current role, I oversee company operations including global information technology, global sales operations, global procurement, global business shared services, global real estate, and global security. It is a broad set of responsibilities, but it is actually quite an advantage to have the tech functions and the business functions mentioned reporting into the same group.
This was a new role created when I joined. It was an attempt by Meg [Whitman, HP’s CEO] to reduce the number of direct reports that she had, but also to increase the sphere of influence and enhance collaboration across these functions. It has been an important set of changes.
Additional topics covered in the article include:
- With such a diverse array of responsibilities, how do you judge the performance of IT departments having run several of them, and now having IT as one of several functions reporting to you?
- Among executives who I have collaborated with who have been as successful as you have been, they have had a keen sense of how to build highly productive teams. You are only as good as the people on your team, after all. What has been your approach?
- You are a representative of a rare but growing cadre of former CIOs who have risen above that role. What aspects of your past experiences set you down the path to make this possible, and what advice would you offer others who might wish to follow in your footsteps?
- You’ve been an IT leader in three tech companies. What has been common among them or unique?