Former CIO Takes on the Role of COO at Allianz, by Peter High in CIO Insight

July 20, 2015
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Peter High


Excerpt from the Article:

Allianz Global Assistance is a leader in assistance services, travel insurance and medical health insurance for travelers or ex-patriots. “Assistance” refers to roadside assistance, but it also refers to repatriation services for people who have issues while they are traveling. As Chief Operating Officer of the Americas, Jay Levine notes in this interview with CIO Insight contributor, Peter High, how the assistance label is so meaningful to the company’s mission.

Levine has been a CIO several times over, and joined Allianz Global Assistance as CIO of the Americas before rising to his current role. Levine reflects on his journey and the lessons it might provide on those who might follow in his footsteps.

CIO Insight: Can you talk a bit about your responsibility as COO? What is under your purview, Jay?

Jay Levine: I am the Chief Operations Officer for the Americas zone, which includes Canada, Mexico, the U.S., and I share responsibility for Brazil. These zones all have standalone business units serving the products I just described. There are a number of areas of interest starting with organizational management, serving as a PMO. We are responsible for the claims area, the assistance area and travel services, which includes the call center. We also have a financial services group where we do TPA services for specialty products that we provide on behalf of a credit card company. Finally, I oversee administrative services to do staff planning, reporting analytics and budgeting across the business units for which I am accountable.

CIO Insight: Talk about the process transitioning from CIO to COO, especially how the opportunity presented itself to you and what it is about your experiences as CIO that made you ready for this set of responsibilities.

Levine: I certainly aspired to move beyond the CIO role over the last 10 years. I came up through the software ranks as you mentioned as CTO. The more mature I got into my career, the more involvement with the business beyond the technology became more interesting to me. So it was an aspiration of mine and I was unsure whether I would fulfill it as I moved into the last third of my career.

One of my colleagues, the COO, moved out of the company to a great opportunity, at a time when I was fulfilling both the zone CIO role and overseeing a business transformation in Paris. The former COO and I shared the same boss, so when this happened, I threw my hat into the ring. Obviously my boss felt I was qualified and I had attributes he wanted to see more of in the operations area. It is such a technology-driven operation that he was looking for someone with a technology background. I knew the infrastructure, the domain from a business point of view and I had a burning desire to be closer to customers.

CIO Insight: Is it your assumption that at businesses that are going through similar technological transformations, CIOs who are appropriately equipped and have the ambition to do so might follow in your footsteps?

To read the remainder of the article, please visit CIO Insight


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