Forbes The CIO’s First 100 Days Series: Stuart McGuigan

February 25, 2014
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Johnson & Johnson’s CIO Leverages A Proven Blueprint For Success In The First 100 Days

by Peter High, published on


When Stuart McGuigan began his tenure at Johnson & Johnson, he had already been the CIO at CVS Caremark and at Liberty Mutual. A leader with a master’s degree in cognitive sciences from Yale, McGuigan thinks more than the average leader about how the mind works, and thus how to motivate people.  As he notes in my interview with him, learning the culture of an organization is the first order of business for a new leader. Only then can the appropriate changes be made during the window of change afforded a new executive during the early days of his tenure.

McGuigan found that Johnson & Johnson’s culture was neatly codified, and that people truly lived the values set forth more than 70 years ago. Moreover, the focus on accountability and transparency of staff, even encouraging employees to “complain” when there are needs that are unmet worked well with McGuigan’s own leadership style, which is to have anyone, anywhere put their hands up when help is needed or where an issue has been identified so that the fastest path to resolving that issue can be identified.  Although McGuigan has roughly 4,000 IT staff around the world, he has stimulated a greater degree of collaboration, and has continued to improve the operation during his tenure. He offers thoughts here on the thing she did in his first 100 days to set the stage for this success.

(To hear an unabridged podcast version of this interview, please visit this link. This is the tenth article in this series. To read interviews from CIOs of companies like Intel, Caterpillar, Time Warner, and J. Crew, please visit this link. To read future interviews in the series with the CIOs of companies like AmerisourceBergen, Amtrak, and Viacom, please click the “Follow” link above.)

Peter High: Stuart, Johnson & Johnson is a behemoth of a business, with many divisions across most countries on earth. How is IT organized?

Stuart McGuigan: IT is divided into two categories. There are what we refer to as Group CIOs. These executives and their teams align with our different businesses. They are intimately knowledgeable about the strategies and needs of the divisions they align with, just as they have deep knowledge of our technology capabilities and architecture.

We also have a shared services organization. This includes functions such as infrastructure, application development, IT Risk and support.

Additional topics covered in the article include:

  • This is your third role as CIO. As a result, you have had new beginnings at multiple meaningful companies. In the first 100 days in each assignment, what have you found to be common success factors?
  • With each of your CIO roles, you joined major going concerns. You had predecessors as CIOs, and you inherited a team. How have you thought about respect for the past versus breaking from it?
  • I know from our past conversations that the Johnson & Johnson Credo is particularly meaningful to you, as it is to all employees. You mentioned that it serves as a cultural touchstone of sorts as you prepared to join the company. What did it mean to you?
  • What role does IT have relative to the Credo?
  • How have you approached scenarios where the IT department is in turnaround mode vs. where just a few improvements are needed?
  • Given the size and reach of your organization, how do you conduct strategic planning?
  • How do you balance standardization and customization?
  • During your first 100 days, what metrics did you hold dear?

To read the full article, please visit

To explore the full collection of The CIO’s First 100 Days Series articles, please click here.

To explore the Technovation Column library, please click here.

To explore the recent CIO’s First 100 Days Series articles, please click here.

To listen to a recent Forum on World Class IT podcast interview with Stuart, click here.


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