Board Level CIO |

Ralph Szygenda, Former Group Vice President and Chief Information Officer of General Motors

June 02, 2014

Among other topics, Ralph discusses the following issues with Metis Strategy:

  • Ralph’s opportunities and the key factors that led to him being invited and accepting a variety of board positions.
  • The advantages of and value added from holding board positions while still being an active CIO.
  • The necessity of having the correct “mixture” of a business and a technology background to become a board level CIO.
  • The current state of the CIO role and how it has evolved over the past few decades.
  • The importance of guiding younger IT leaders and training them to succeed as C-level executives.
  • Eye on the trends: 1) Mobility – the ability to have 24/7 access to information from both the internal and customer side 2) Big data and analytics – how companies can use the vast amounts of data they have access to 3) Cloud – how to leverage the vast knowledge and resources accessible through the cloud while ensuring security and compliance 4) Computing Innovation – what does the future, in form, anatomy and capabilities of the computer.

Ralph Szygenda’s Biography

Ralph is the former Group Vice President and Chief Information Officer of General Motors.  Since his retirement in 2009, Ralph has been the Managing Partner at UST Global and serves on Investment Advisory Board of Lead Edge Capital as well as Chairman of the Customer Advisory Board at iRise. He is also a Senior Advisor to the CEO of Elastic Outreach and serves as a member of the H John Heinz III Business College Deans’ Advisory Board at Carnegie Mellon University. From 1994 to 2013, Ralph served on various other Boards including Covisint, Compuware, Handleman Company and Sodalia Corporation.

Prior to his tenure at GM, Ralph served as Vice-President and Chief Information Officer at Bell Atlantic Corporation. Ralph also spent 21 years at Texas Instruments Inc. prior to his time at Bell Atlantic. In 1989, he was appointed Vice-President, Information Systems and Services and Chief Information Officer. Two years later, in 1991, he added the responsibility of Vice-President and General Manager of Texas Instruments Enterprise Systems Business Unit, an external software systems integration business supplying information products and services to the Fortune 500.

Ralph has won numerous awards including being named Information Week’s 2002 Chief Information Officer of the Year and being named to CIO magazine’s Hall of Fame in 2007.

Ralph holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Missouri-Rolla in 1970 and a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas in 1975.

The World Class IT principles in yellow were the focus of this interview

  • 01 1- People
  • 02 2- Infrastructure
  • 03 3- Project and Portfolio Management
  • 04 4- IT & Business Partnership
  • 05 5- External Partnerships

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