C-Suite Champions: Profiling The Leading CIOs In Business Today
Over the past decade, the role of the CIO has evolved considerably. Traditionally the head of IT, the CIO is now a business leader responsible for key organizational decisions.
Today’s CIO is the driving force behind enterprise collaboration, productivity, and for many companies, transformation. Companies with forward-looking CIOs who have successfully integrated digital technologies have gained a competitive advantage over less savvy rivals.
CIOs must now combine their IT competencies with a broader set of strategic business skills to successfully drive digital transformation. To get a sense of how to succeed as an IT leader, we decided to profile the leading CIOs in business today to identify the key skills and strategies behind their success.
John Shea, CIO, Eaton Vance
Joen Shea, the CIO of Eaton Vance for ten years and counting, certainly did not take the conventional route to becoming CIO. John spent 10 years as an officer in the Navy Submarine Force which included a post as a combat systems officer on the USS Groton during Operation Desert Storm. John then entered the financial industry taking up IT positions at Batterymarch Financial Management and MFS Investment Management before assuming his current role.
As CIO, John has not shied away from making big decisions when they have needed to be made. His first port of call at Eaton Vance, interstingly enough, was to install a time-tracking system to see what everyone in the IT departement was spending their time on. Quickly enough it became apparent that IT was working on too many things with too many competing systems. Sales at Eaton Vance for example, had 40 different systems in operation, which John was able to reduce to 4.
When it comes to new technologies, John’s philosophy is to be a “fast follower”. Once some new technology shows ROI, John jumps on it. Everything else is outsourced.
Pieter Schoehuijs, SVP & Group CIO, Capgemini
With a track record for dirving technolgoy transformation, Pieter became CIO at Capgemini in October 2015. Pieter is another high performing CIO who began his career in the navy. After the Royal Dutch Navy, Pieter spent 9 years in europe with IBM and E&Y before moving to America where he wrked at Flowserve and Church & Dwight. He then moved to AkzoNobel where he became Global CIO. Here, he headed up a highly successful transformation initiative which brought about significant delivery improvement and financial savings. Pieter holds a MAsters degree in Comuter Science and was recognized as a top European CIO by CIOnet in 2012.
Pieter’s succeeded as transformation leader at AkzoNobel by bringing an IT department of 900 people in 43 countries closer together. His IT excellence roadmap was based on consolidation and shared services where possible. To implement these changes he built highly effective, often geographically dispersed teams strategically aligned around business processes.
Bob Casale, EVP & CIO, MassMutual Financial Group
At MassMutual Bob is responsible for the oversight of information technology and equipping employees with the technology and tools they need to support policyholders and help achieve MassMutual’s business objectives. Bob has worked across multiple businesses and industries. His broad experience and extensive understanding of technology, business operations and infrastructure, enabled him to drive the direction and implementation of the company’s “modernization vision”. He has also overseen the successful IT Effectiveness Transformation initiative at MassMutual aimed at increasing business alignment.
At the heart of Bob’s successful transformation initiative was his desire to reimagine IT at the company. As part of this reimagining, the company came up with four overarching goals for IT: Be more agile in the marketplace, stimulate innovation, change the cost structure of IT, and make the work exciting for IT professionals. To achieve these goals, Bob set up an emerging tech group with the aim of developing bold hypotheses and not being a bystander. They also developed a new rating system for all their technology to either “buy”, “hold”, or “sell”. Finally, Bob managed to reduce the number of people with IT job titles from 100 to 35 bringing a sense of clarity and direction to the department.
Paul Pronsati, EVP, Global Operations and IT, CA Technologies
Paul has overseen operations and IT at CA Technologies since 2013. Previously, Paul served as senior vice president of Operations at Taleo and vice president of Operations for Global Services at PeopleSoft. Earlier in his career, Paul spent over nine years at J.D. Edwards, a global provider of Enterprise Software, where he held a number of executive positions, including vice president, Sales and Consulting Operations.
Paul has led a highly successful transformation initiative at CA Technologies. In doing so, he went back and analyzed the company’s fundamentals: people, processes, and technology. For Paul agility is key – he explained to CIOReview that “CA Technologies is acutely aware of how important speed is to building competitive advantage in a fast-paced technology industry.” One important change Paul oversaw was turning IT’s annual planning session into a rolling quarterly – sometimes monthly – meeting which provides IT with a rolling view of the business improving planning, resource allocation, and budgetting.
The transformation initiative also saw the company operate in the agile methodology on a day to day basis. CA’s own PPM solution is key to this agility providing all managers with a view of pipeline. Under Paul, IT at CA Technologies has moved from the role of “order taker” to strategic business partner. For more on Paul’s ideas on business transformation, check out his presentation on Creating the Borderless Workplace
Erich Windmuller, VP & CIO, CSC
At IBM, Erich was responsible for end-to-end system operational readiness for IBM’s internal global sales, services, software products and customer fulfillment, including their applications, infrastructure and network environments. He also managed all internal IT integration activities to support corporate M&A efforts.
The success of the transformation initiative Erich headed at IBM was based on three goals:
- To become the premier globally integrated enterprise
- Focus on open technologies.
- Deliver integration and innovation to clients
Kevin Winter, Global CIO, Booz Allen Hamilton
Kevin is responsible for executing the firm’s IT infrastructure strategy that includes migrating Booz Allen to the cloud, leveraging virtual and mobile technologies to achieve greater effectiveness and efficiency, improving and optimizing the performance and security of their networks and systems, and ensuring their IT Infrastructure enables the delivery of services to clients. Prior to joining Booz Allen, Mr. Winter was the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for SRA International. He has also worked at multiple leading technology companies (e.g., Perot Systems, Covad Communications) where he led and managed large-scale networks and IT Infrastructure programs.
Kevin has adopted a three-tiered approach to make sure IT is aligned with the company’s corporate direction: an executive-heavy IT Operations Group at the top, a Strategic Innovation Group at the business-unit level and a “Jedi” group of younger workers, ages 20 to 30, spread throughout the organization. With this approach, Kevin has successfully implemented a new social intranet and digital workplace. Employee engagement is an important barometer at Booz Allen. The new digital workplace is designed to provide the firm’s widely dispersed employees with a single, mobile-accessible platform that they can use to work, collaborate, connect and communicate.
Kevin provided an interesting insight into his ideas on the role of the modern CIO in an interview with Curious where he explained: “If the CIO is not listening to how people are working, he’s going to deliver the wrong technologies.”
Diana Bolden, CIO, Teradata
Diana Bolden is a 34 year veteran of Teradata where she plays a pivotal role in the ongoing business transformation initiative. In an interview with Profile Magazine, Diana explained the role she envisions fot IT in the modern enterprise: “There has been an explosion of data from digital channels. As this data grows, so does the challenge of extracting insights that are important. The way to address this is for marketing and IT to work together, cutting across data silos to pull crucial information together, analyze it, and act on it.”
At Teradata, Diana has brought about improved collaboration between IT and Marketing by uniting the functions under one senior leader. This way, key insights no longer gets siloed. With open lines of communication, IT can develop their roundabout fully cognizant of Marketing strategy.
Chandra Venkataramani, CIO, Convergys
Chandra Venkataramani is the chief information officer (CIO) for Convergys Corporation, a global leader in customer management. Chandra is responsible for the global technology infrastructure of the company, as well as the planning, development, and delivery of technology products and services for Convergys clients. Chandra has a master of science degree in industrial engineering from Louisiana Tech University, and an MBA in finance and information systems from New York University s Stern School of Business.
Throughout his career, Chandra has consistently demonstrated an ability to drive bottom line growth through operational efficiencies and the standardization of corporate technology platforms. In an interview with Lead Cincinatti, Chandra shared some interesting ideas on how he views IT and the role of CIO today: “The technology organization within Convergys starts and ends the day thinking of ways we can help our core business operations.”
Paula Tolliver, Corporate VP, Business Services and CIO, The Dow Chemical Company
Paula Tolliver assumed the role of CIO at The Dow Chemical Company in September 2014. Previously she occupied leadership roles at the company in HR, Operations, and IT. Throughout here time with Doc, Tolliver has consistently driven business results including significant advancemens in procurement strategic sourcing capabilities.
In an interview with the Forté Foundation, Paula credits her technical background and interest in computer science with helping her to understand and solve business problems.
Having led the company’s 8 year billiion dollar ERP implementation, Paula was able to identify three key business lessons: “plan, plan, and plan again”.
Bob Bruns, CIO, Avanade
Avanade Chief Information Officer Bob Bruns is responsible for Avanade’s internal enterprise technology, and for delivering the technology capabilities that power the company’s people and operations worldwide.
Previously Bob was Vice President of Infrastructure Services and Global Operations, accountable for delivery of Avanade’s enterprise infrastructure services worldwide, including security, end-user enablement, collaboration, hosting and network services. Earlier in his career, he spent 14 years with Accenture, serving as Director of Unified Communications & Collaboration Services.
Speaking with HMG Strategy, Bob offered an interesting glimpse into his leadership style. He explained “try not to take yourself so seriously and make sure that you are focused on the larger outcomes and what is coming next”. He also advised up and coming CIOs to “grow your network of people and resources”, saying one of the best ways to get things done is by building relationships with key people in outher business functions at your company.
Julia Davis, CIO, Aflac
As Aflac’s senior vice president/chief information officer since July 2013, Julia Davis oversees the day-to-day operations and the strategic initiatives of the company’s Information Technology division. In this role, Julia has shown herself to be a dedicated visionary who possesses the skills and strength of character that are essential for success as a CIO today. At Aflac, she has succeeded in her quest to medernize the IT division at the company.
Julia has quite a diverse background having began her career as a software engineer in the US Air Force. Elsewhere, she served as CIO at American Safety Insurance and the Equipment Finance Division of GE Capital HEalthcare Financial Services. She also performed IT leadership roles at GE Energy, Armstrong World Industries, INformaiton Builders, Ogden Government Services, and CRSS Services.
In an interview with Diversity Journal, Julia explained that failur should not necessarily be viewed as rejection. Instead, you should “view it as a learning experience. Being able to grow from adversity and move on is what makes you a stronger leader.”
Angelo DeGenaro, CIO, McGraw-Hill Education
Angelo T. DeGenaro serves as Chief Information Officer for McGraw-Hill Education, joining the company in January 2015. Previously, he worked as SVP and CTO at McGraw Hill Financial where he was responsible for enterprise architecture, global infrastructure delivery, and IT risk management. Angelo holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from New York University and a Master of Science in telecommunications and computing management from Polytechnic University.
At McGraw, collaboration is key and Angelo works closely with CDO Stephen Laster to build learning applications for students and teachers. DeGenaro provides the infrastructure, operational uptime and security to support the building of these digital applications. DeGenaro explained to CIO that maintaining a united front between both functions was key: “There may be some points of disagreement, but it’s always handled professionally and egos never come into play here.”
Max Cheng, CIO, Trend Micro
As CIO and executive vice president for Core Technology, Max Cheng is responsible for overseeing Information Services and Security. Max has held several executive positions at Trend Micro. He managed TrendLabsSM, Trend Micro’s global research and support headquarters based in Manila. Under his leadership, TrendLabs became one of the world’s leading antivirus research and product support services. He has also served as head of the global sales engineering, antivirus research and global technical support groups, and general manager of the enterprise business unit. Cheng also holds a master’s degree in business administration from UCLA.
Cody Sanford, EVP & CIO, T-Mobile
Cody Sanford is Executive Vice President and CIO of T-Mobile USA. He previously served as SVP of Technology for the company. With over 18 years of executive leadership behind him, Cody has built up a strong reputation for progressive and enlightened employee development combined with true application of fiscal disciplines, and outstanding financial outcomes. Cody has been key to transformation at T-Mobile which has made the company virtually unrecognizable from where it was a decade ago.
Stephan Lorban, CIO Emerging Markets at Novartis Pharma
Stephan Lorban is a long time employee at Novartis where he has led the IT division for over 20 years. IT at Novartis plays a key role in enabling business growth in emerging markets. Much of Stephan’s focus is on transforming IT systems and capabilities in these markets.
Stephan has played a vital role in the IT transformation initiative at the company which directly supports Novartis’s mission of bringing innovative treatments to market and enabling better patient outcomes. Other prioirities include capturing cross-functional synergies and boosting innovation at the company.
Rob Tabb, CIO, Ecolab
In an interview with Metis Strategy, Rob explained some of the key actions he took to create a world-class IT function at Ecolab:
- Worked with the business team to add definition to strategic objectives.
- Having independent business units operate in a more collaborative way.
Robert Blaskowsky, VP & CIO, Danaher
With over 20 years leadership experience, Robert leads IT at Danaher. He previously led IT at Tektronix, Serena Software, Niku, and Allied Telesyn International. Blaskowsky possesses a BA in Business Administration from the University of Washington and a MBA, Business Administration from Santa Clare University.
Throughout his career, he has consistently demonstrated exemplary leadership as well as delivering world-class information technology solutions that drive effective and efficient business results. He has extensive experience in building and leading teams in a high-performance environment.
Neil Jarvis, CIO, Fujitsu
Neil Jarvis is Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Fujitsu Americas. His is directly responsible for the entire IT organization, including all technology and services in support of business operations for Fujitsu America. With an impressive history at places like Xerox, Pegasus Logistics Group, AAA, CNA and EDS, he has a proven track record of identifying and resolving complex challenges within organizations to deliver improved business, technology and organizational capabilities.
In a recent interview, Jarvis outlined his vision for the future of IT: “In today’s technology-focused culture, an unprecedented amount of our daily lives is now digitized. By 2025, enterprise technology will necessarily become more human centric than it is today.” He continued saying “This shift, which is due to an increasingly innovative society that demands a ubiquitously people-friendly user experience in the workplace, will blur the lines between the enterprise and life itself.”
Sean Lennon, SVP & CIO Allergan
Sean Lennon is SVP and CIO of Allergan. He assumed his current role in 2014 after spending more than three years as VP of Technology and Infrastructure. Before joining Allergan, Sean led Global IT at Novartis.
As CIO at Allergan, Sean’s IT function supports 30,000 employees across 100 countries. He has overseen 40 mergers and divestitures over the past 5 years. The IT simplification which he has headed has delivered $240 million in cost reductions.
Speaking to the WSJ, Sean explained: “I run IT as a business, with a P&L approach.” When it comes to mergers, one should never assume job security according to Sean. He also shared his refreshing take on office politics: “You can never be worried about losing your job. As soon as you are, you start to weigh decisions in terms of politics and you’re not as effective a leader anymore. The day you start making decisions trying to hold onto a job, you start to lose that job.”