Following almost 3 years of enabling remote working, securing business operations and enhancing productivity levels, forward-thinking CIOs are stepping up to spearhead transformation agendas in Singapore.

Leveraging a once-in-a-career opportunity, IT leaders are building new strategies to accelerate the potential of digital, mirroring boardroom ambitions to create competitive differentiation in 2023 and beyond.

According to State of the CIO 2023 findings, 90% of CIOs say that their role is becoming more digital and innovation focused.  

Yet such ambitions come with a caveat as CIOs build a foundation for innovation in Singapore amid an environment of legacy systems, out-dated mindsets, talent shortages and rising threat levels.

The level of uncertainty in the current operating environment was evident, and whilst companies were seeing no real direct impact at present, there is a mixed approach to investment with some being “cautious” and others seeing it as “essential.”

Those in the cautious camp are seeing new investments being delayed. Whilst those who see it as essential have a mandate to change as their business model is being disrupted.

Building on Success

The pandemic raised the status of IT within organizations, and the fact the businesses continued to run was down to the fast actions of the IT department.

The shift to digital also sped up decision making across enterprises with decisions being made in days instead of months.

The risk appetite of enterprises also increased as the risk of not implementing a technology could have lead to the business not operating at all.

Tech budgets are also growing with the State of the CIO survey (APAC) 2023 seeing that  58% of APAC CIO’s expect their budgets to increase in 2023, with another 32% saying that it will remain the same as the previous year.

“We are seeing a continuation of interest in innovation from the prior year across organizations,” observed XXXXXXXX at VMWare. He continues “however what is interesting is where this innovation is happening – for some it is innovation in simplification, for others it is disruptive innovation.”

Taking Stock and Driving Value from Investments

With many investments having been made during the Pandemic with accelerated decision processes, there is an activity of “taking stock” of what has been purchased, and driving value from past purchases, whether it be hardware, software or services.

In some cases, this has led to a more complex environment, requiring enterprises to take a step back and to evaluate.


A recurring theme is the need to simplify – whether it be applications or infrastructure, with the premise being a simpler structure is easier to manage.

“This is easier said than done, with 73% of enterprises using two or more clouds,” said XXXX. He continues “bringing the mixture of on-premise, public clouds, private clouds and edge together is key to moving forward and putting in place an architecture that not only works, but enables innovation.”

But this area is also the one where APAC CIO’s are seeing the greatest challenge with 42% saying that technology integration / implementation is the top skill required to support the ongoing digital business initiatives (State of the CIO survey (APAC) 2023), followed by IT/ Cloud architecture at 33%.

Overcoming Challenges

“Having the right partners is going to be key. As organizations struggle to find the right and affordable talent necessary to continue the innovation journey, bringing in partners who can share the load and bring their expertise is going to key.” Said XXXXXX. “We have worked with many organizations and have helped them overcome the challenges they face.

The top five areas where we see concerns are
1) risk related to security, data or privacy issues;
2) Inconsistent infrastructure in APIs, databases, networks and security;
3) the need to hire or maintain new, specialized skills to support public clouds;
4) the ability to manage / optimize spend; and
5) increased complexity from policies that manage individual environments.”

Innovation and Modernisation: What is the Appetite?

The appetite for innovation in Singapore is high, however the drivers of change vary. From strategic organizational change, where a de-centralization strategy requires splitting the business, through fundamental changes in technology, such as the shift to electric vehicles, and the impact on developing a new ecosystem.

New digital revenue models are also on the rise, with more organizations “white labelling” their platforms and licensing their usage to other companies. This has also allowed Singapore companies to expand to other geographies.

“A good example of this is Informatics Academy, whom we have worked with to modernise their IT infrastructure to better connect, secure, and coordinate operations across its global campuses in Singapore and the UK.” said XXXX.

The exploration of generative AI is happening across most organizations with ongoing projects to see where and how it can be adopted. Concerns remain with its use, especially around security and ethics. But the power of the tool is one that has most enterprises excited.

The challenge will be having the strategy to embed generative AI within the organization, and to also change the organization to take full advantage of the possibilities that exist in changing business processes.  

Tha ability to use generative AI to explore within a companies firewall to bring disparate data sources together is an area of great interest, being seen as a disrupting technology. It is clear that those organization that can adopt, embed, and change to take advantage of the power of generative AI will be better positioned for the uncertain times ahead.

Innovation is being ignited in Singapore.


With headquarters in Boston and over 2,700 employees worldwide, Novanta is an $800 million global supplier of laser photonics, precision motion control, and vision technologies. CIO Sarah Betadam, who joined in 2019 as VP of business applications, and then became global CIO in January 2021, is tasked with the strategic direction, leadership, and implementation of the company’s digital transformation, juggling several initiatives simultaneously, many of which surround efforts to become a fully functional data-driven enterprise.

“My team and I are very proud of our transformation that started in 2019,” she says. “When I joined, there was a lot of silo data everywhere throughout the organization, and everyone was doing their own reporting. So in monthly or quarterly combined meetings, there weren’t apples to apples being compared. It was also a lot of churning for the different groups to come up with those data on the weekly, monthly and quarterly basis.”

So from the business side, there was a lot of inefficiency getting data to the point where it was presentable to different audiences, which presented in its own right a big business problem for Betadam. But where to begin?

“We started from a focused business case by partnering with three different groups to showcase how centralization of data can be efficient, helpful, and a good roadmap for the company,” she says. “You have to build trust within stakeholders, and really prove you can help them help themselves. That’s the first level of a cultural shift. It took us about six months to do the proof of concept for three different business units, but it was highly successful. In fact, the ROI was so high, we gained the trust of our executives to invest in a platform to begin centralizing data.”

CIO contributing editor Julia King recently spoke with Betadam about Novanta’s unified shift from its fractured reporting culture to a more efficient data-driven organization. Here are some edited excerpts of that conversation. Watch the full video below for more insights.

On investing in capabilities: We’ve set up something called a BI Center of Excellence where we train and have workshops and seminars on a monthly basis that team members across Novanta can join to learn about how they could leverage data marts or data sources to build their own reporting. So we have a visualization layer where we teach different groups within our organization to learn. It’s evolved from over the past four years from having nothing and siloed data sets of spreadsheets and everyone doing their own thing, to being centralized based on KPIs and the trust in what they receive from the data. They’re learning how to visualize data on their own, so they don’t really need IT other than the data marts in order to build their own dashboards.

On a positive mentality: Transformations aren’t just technology driven, they’re people and process driven. And change doesn’t come easy no matter which organization you’re at. So when you talk about data, there’s a lot of change that can happen from the way people work to how they manage data, and how you report and make decisions based on that data. That’s integral for any business. When you’re making proposals, if the answer is no, don’t be discouraged, go back and try why there was a no. Keep at it because I’ve heard no throughout my career. If you’re a firm believer of something that will have a huge impact in your business, you just have to have the tenacity to go after it, understand it, try to explain it and educate people on it to create momentum. Once you prove that, then the rest is history.          

On BI maturity: When it comes to reporting and analytics or BI, in order to gain the trust of team members, you have to be able to educate as well as let them know that just the data reporting and having access to data from a centralized view doesn’t mean your data is necessarily accurate, because if you don’t input the data correctly, you get garbage in, garbage out. I think part of educating team members, when we’re doing proofs of concept, is about not expecting a miracle. We have a multitude of ERP systems to map as well as data sources. We could do all that mapping and validation with you, but if the underlying data isn’t accurate, it has nothing to do with the mechanism which provides that. It’s the clean-up effort. It’s about being transparent and educating your business in terms of what the expectation of the BI tool can deliver.

On data governance: We have 17 different ERP systems, and Novanta is a very acquisitive company, so it’s an ongoing challenge. But my team is familiar with different backend technologies for the mainstream ERP. Yet if we come across an ERP that’s not necessarily mainstream, they’ll have challenges getting into the back end, and integrating and understanding the relational data to connect it to our central data lake. That’s going to be an ongoing technical risk that we’ll have and we need to overcome that. What we understood in 2019 was when people don’t see what they’re inputting, they often forget different entry variations, like how many ways there are to say, “United States.” But through some key business cases, and now to the entire group, discrepancies from data duplication are visible, as well as the visibility and movement for data governance that’s spun off across Novanta, and the BI platform and reporting. It’s a work in progress. We’re discovering more, but it definitely helps to have the visibility and data governance to clean the data and integrate the data mapping, which helps the BI team to publish data marts.

Business Intelligence, CIO, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Architecture, IT Leadership

Movers & Shakers is where you can keep up with new CIO appointments and gain valuable insight into the job market and CIO hiring trends. As every company becomes a technology company, CEOs and corporate boards are seeking multi-dimensional CIOs with superior skills in technology, communications, business strategy and digital innovation. The role is more challenging than ever before but even more exciting and rewarding! If you have CIO job news to share, please email me!

Nordstrom announces Jason Morris as CTIO

Jason Morris, CTIO, Nordstrom


Founded in 1901, Nordstrom is a specialty retailer based in the US. Morris joins Nordstrom from Walmart, where he most recently led global enterprise technology as SVP of Enterprise Business Services. He has a BS in mathematics and computer science from Southwestern Oklahoma State University.

US LBM names Andrew Campbell CIO

Andrew Campbell, CIO, US LBM


Founded in 2009, US LBM is a distributor of specialty building materials. Campbell was most recently SVP and CIO with Terex. Prior to Terex, he held roles with GE and Xerox. Campbell is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and is a certified Six Sigma Green Belt.

Adventist Health promotes Jennifer Stemmler to CIO

Jennifer Stemmler, CIO, Adventist Health

Adventist Health

Adventist Health is a faith-based, nonprofit, integrated health system serving communities on the West Coast and Hawaii, with over 400 sites of care. Stemmler joined Adventist Health in 2013 and most recently served as Chief Digital Officer. She held previous positions at Cedaron Medical and McKesson Health Solutions. Stemmler earned a BA from California State University – Sacramento.

Jackson names Michael Hicks as CIO

Michael Hicks, CIO, Jackson


Jackson provides annuities for retail investors and fixed income products for institutional investors. Hicks joins Jackson from AF Group, a provider of workers’ compensation insurance solutions. He earned a BA in Liberal Studies from Boston University and an MBA in Global Business and Leadership from the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University.

Proterra announces appointment of CIO Dustin Goodwin

Proterra is a designer and manufacturer of zero-emission electric vehicles and EV technology solutions. Prior to joining Proterra, Goodwin served as CIO of Icahn Enterprises. He previously held leadership positions in information technology with the Royal Bank of Canada, the Blackstone Group, Cisco Systems, and Citigroup.

Conrad Band is named CIO of Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles

Conrad Band, CIO, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles

Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is a pediatric health care organization. Band has been with CHLA for six years and has held the interim CIO role since May 2021. Earlier, he held roles at Verity Health System, Kootenai Health, T2 Technology Group, and Intrinium. Band has earned a B.S. from Eastern Washington University.

Duane Morris names Michael Bruckner as CIO

Michael Bruckner, CIO, Duane Morris

Duane Morris

Duane Morris LLP is a law firm with more than 900 attorneys in offices across the United States and internationally. Bruckner most recently served as CIO at Buckley LLP. He earned a B.A. from George Washington University.

Alistair Erskine is appointed CIDO of Emory Healthcare

Alistair Erskine, CIDO, Emory Healthcare

Emory Healthcare

Emory Healthcare, part of Emory University, is a comprehensive academic health system in Georgia, made up of 11 hospitals, the Emory Clinic, and more than 250 provider locations. Erskine comes to Emory Healthcare from Mass General Brigham and, earlier, held roles at Geisinger and Sidra Medical and Research Center. Erskine earned his MD from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine and completed his residency in internal medicine and pediatrics at Brown University. He also holds an MBA from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

Lockton elevates Byron Clymer to Global CIO

Byron Clymer, Global CIO, Lockton


Lockton is an insurance brokerage firm that provides clients around the world with risk management, insurance, employee benefits consulting, and retirement services. Clymer joined Lockton in 2018 and most recently served as US CIO. He held prior roles at, CenturyLink, and Sprint. Clymer earned a BS from Nebraska Wesleyan University and an MS from University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

William Walders is appointed CIO at BayCare

William Walders, CIO, BayCare


BayCare is a healthcare system that provides a wide range of services throughout the Tampa Bay and central Florida regions. Walders comes to BayCare from Health First in Melbourne, Fla. He is a retired US Navy commander and served as global VP of Data Platforms and Enterprise Services at the Defense Health Agency, and CIO of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Walders earned a BS in management information systems from the University of Maryland and a Master’s degree in business/healthcare administration from University of Florida.

Ed Wozencroft appointed CIO of New Jersey Institute of Technology

Ed Wozencroft, CIO, New Jersey Institute of Technology

New Jersey Institute of Technology

Established in 1885, New Jersey Institute of Technology provides educational services and certification programs to college students. Previously, Wozencroft held roles at Huron Consulting Group, Stevens Institute of Technology, and Marist College. He earned a BS in information systems and technology from Marist College and an MS in enterprise project management from Stevens Institute of Technology.

Gentell names Glenn Thompson CIO

Glenn Thompson, CIO, Gentell


Gentell is wound care dressing manufacturer with plants in the US, Canada, Mexico, and China, and distribution facilities around the world. Thompson joins Gentell from T. Rowe Price, and he held previous positions at Wyndham Hotel Group, JPMorgan Chase, and SquareTwo Financial. 

New CIO appointments, April 2023

Workday names Rani Johnson CIO

Huntington Ingalls announces Chris Soong as CIO

USAA adds Suhas Yerra as CIO for its P&C company

The Hartford names Shekar Pannala CIO for Property & Casualty

McCain Foods announces Manoj Kumbhat as CIO

Jarrod Phipps joins Holman as CIO

Richard Mendola named CIO at Johns Hopkins University and Medicine

Heather Galvin promoted to CIO at DLR Group

Mary Kay appoints James Whatley as CIO

Donna Peters named CIO of TriHealth

JFrog welcomes Aran Azarzar as CIO

Vishal Bedi named Global CIO at JAS Worldwide

John Jackson appointed CIO at Montrose Environmental Group

Stack appoints Ravi Thota as CIO

New CIO appointments, March 2023

Tyson Foods promotes two to CTO and CIO positions

Southwest Airlines names Lauren Woods as CIO

Greg Fancher joins PetSmart as CITO

Mark Mazurkiewicz is CIO of Protective Industrial Products

Keith Aulson named CIO at Malibu Boats

Sean Moore rejoins CJ Logistics America as CIO

GA Telesis appoints Darryl Maraj as its first global CIO

Seneca Gaming names Les Leonard CIO

Peter Weis appointed CIO of ITS Logistics

Sumaria Systems Names Alex Wong as CIO

Jay Brodsky joins American Association for the Advancement of Science as CIO

R&R Express selects Mark Ohlund as CIO

Sage Dental Group promotes Daniel Mirsky to CIO

New CIO appointments, February 2023

Brown-Forman promotes Larry Combs to newly created role of CIO

Jared Price promoted to CIO at AMP

Rick Johnson named CDO at Marvin

Pritchard Industries appoints Chris Conway to CIO post

TYLin welcomes Stephen Cayea as CIO

Tarleton State University names Zach Gorman CIO

Joe Vande Kieft Named Central College’s CIO

Leaf Home hires Klarissa Marenitch as CIO

Matt Deres appointed CIO at Quest Software

Fleming Meng appointed CIO at Veritone

Michele Stanton joins HGA as CIO

Vijay Menta named CIO at Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Quorum Software appoints Jan Manning as CIO

Steve Sharkey is the new CIO at Sunland Asphalt & Construction

Lubrizol appoints Shuja Ishrat as CIO

NCB Management Services hires Leonard Yampolsky as CIO

Zoom Appoints Cindy Hoots to Board of Directors

New CIO appointments, January 2023

Centene announces Brian LeClaire as CIO

Brad Miller joins Moderna as CIO

Colgate-Palmolive promotes David Foster to CIO

Annlea Rumfola named CIO of Yellow

Chicago Public Schools appoints Norman Fleming as CIO

Sampath Narayanan announced as CIO for Panoramic Health

Schneider Electric appoints Robert Cain as CIO for North America

Vantage Data Centers names Purnima Wagle as CIO 

Eliassen Group Appoints Rob Waddell as First CIO

Quickbase Names Dalan Winbush as New CIO

Nathan Thompson assumes the role of CIO of UBC

Keith Golden joins RGP as CIO

Thanigs Muthu announced as new CIO of LBMC

Associated Banc-Corp announces Terry L. Williams as CIO

Omer Grossman named Global CIO of CyberArk

Baiju Thakkar named CIO of Supreme Lending

New CIO appointments, December 2022

Apple names Timothy Campos as new CIO

Planet Fitness announces Paul Barber as CIO

Daniel J. Barchi named as CommonSpirit Health CIO

NCR has named Patricia Watson as CIO

David Yurman announces Christian Fortucci as CIO

Open Lending appoints Thinh Nguyen as CIO

Zoetis’ CIDO, Wafaa Mamilli, expands role to lead two major markets and customer experience

Extended Stay America announces John LaPlante as CIO

Mary Beth Eckert hired as CIDO of Pacific Life

Sumit Nair joins Essential Utilities as CIO

Hussmann announces Erin Williams as CIO

Douglas Torre joins White Plains Hospital as CIO

Smoothie King announces Juan Salas as CIO

Jess Evans named CIO for Vanderbilt University

New CIO appointments, November 2022

Karen Higgins-Carter joins Gilbane Building Co. as CIDO

Atefeh (“Atti”) Riazi Named CIO of Hearst

Jim Palermo moves into CIO role at Red Hat

Etsy names Rachana Kumar Chief Technology Officer

Crowley names Erika Graziuso as CIO

Thorlabs announces Michael Cheng as new head of IT

BakerHostetler names Katherine Lowry as CIO

Sheila Carpenter appointed CIO at Everbridge

Southwell welcomes James ‘Jamey’ Pennington as new CIO

Krishna Seetharam announced as new CIO of CyrusOne

Joyce Oh joins Moffitt Cancer Center as CIO

Columbia Bank appoints Manesh Prabhu as CIO

Scott Frost named CIO at 3Pillar Global

Pam Presswood is named CIO of Valor

Brian Wesselhoff promoted to CIO at Waterstone Mortgage

Alice Fournier joins ISS as CIO for Americas Region

New CIO appointments, October 2022

Allstate names Zulfi Jeevanjee to newly created CIO position

The NFL hires Gary Brantley as new CIO

Grady Ligon joins RE/MAX as CIO

XPO promotes Jay Silberkleit to CIO

Chevron Phillips Chemical expands remit of CIO Allison Martinez 

Delta Dental of California promotes two executives into CIO and CTO roles

Ryan Olivier is named CIO of AAM (American Axle & Manufacturing)

Excela Health welcomes Vasanth Balu as CIO

Velcro Companies selects Rob Trotter as CIO

Potawatomi Hotel & Casino welcomes Garret Finocchiaro as its first CIO

Slalom hires Michelle Grover as first CTO

Sharon Pitt is named CIO at Brown University

University of Cincinnati hires Bharath Prabhakaran as CDO

Vuori Clothing names Bryan Muehlberger to be its CIO

Eduard de Vries is named CIO for Axia Women’s Health

Matt Postulka returns to Arbella Insurance as CIO

Biju Samuel joins Frazier & Deeter as CIO

Creative Testing Solutions welcomes new CIO Jeff Modell

TGen names Kevin Campbell CIO

New CIO appointments, September 2022

Walgreens Boots Alliance appoints Hsiao Wang as CIO

American Airlines Names Ganesh Jayaram CDIO

Fletcher Previn is named CIO of Cisco Systems

Mike Sullivan promoted to CIO of Post Holdings

Omni Hotels & Resorts hires Lance Kobza as CIO

Water Street Healthcare Partners appoints Deepak Batheja as CIO

Aon appoints James Platt as Chief Digital Officer and Mindy Simon as Chief Operating Officer

Conagra promotes Tracy Schaefer to CIO

Robert Curtis is named IT leader at Danbury Mission Technologies

RealTruck hires Tom Luttrell as its first CIO

Wesley Eugene has been named CIO at IDEO

Andy Rhodes named CIO at Ultimate Medical Academy

Amit Gaur joins HALO Branded Solutions as CIO

Archkey Solutions names Scott Welch to lead IT

REV Group hires Sagar Murty as CIO

Marcus Manning is named CIO of Smart Financial Credit Union

Mark Sander is the new CDIO at Azurity Pharmaceuticals

Allied Electronics & Automation Appoints Jason Taylor as CIO

Michael Early is named CTO of Francesca’s

New CIO appointments, August 2022

Michelle Greene is the new CIO at Cardinal Health

United Airlines announces technology leadership promotions

McDonald’s appoints Brian Rice as CIO

Kimberly-Clark names Zack Hicks as chief digital and technology officer

Hyatt Hotels appoints Eben Hewitt as CIO

Kohl’s promotes Siobhan McFeeney to CTO

Denise Fleming is named CIO of Becton Dickinson

Bobby Aflatooni joins Dollar Tree as CIO

Patty Patria is named CIO of Babson College

Sevita hires Patrick Piccininno to be its CIO

Sharay Erkine is named CIO of Atlanta Community Food Bank

Cranial Technologies names Pete Foster CIO

Ryan Specialty hires Bradley Bodell as CIO

Dwain Wilcox joins J.M. Huber as CIO

Amalgamated Family of Companies announces Sanjay Chojar as CIO

Xerxes Gazder appointed as CIO of AAON

Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena announce Chief Innovation and Technology Officer Kimberly Rometo

Steve Klohn is named CIO of Dave & Buster’s

Julie Nash promoted to CIO at Arlo Technologies

Tom Sweet is named CIO of Industrial Refrigeration Pros

Christian Eidt joins Davis-Standard as CIO

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America selects Travis Gibson to be CTO

The Federal Communications Commission names Allen Hill as CIO

Owens & Minor elects Carissa Rollins to its board of directors

New CIO appointments, July 2022

Neeru Arora named CIO and CDO for Volkswagen Group of America

Monica Caldas will become CIO of Liberty Mutual

Deere promotes CIO Raj Kalathur to CFO, appoints Ganesh Jayaram as new CIO

Ingersoll Rand Names Kathryn Freytag Chief Information Officer

eXp World Holdings names Shoeb Ansari as CIO

FM Global promotes Todd Mazza to CTO

Enovis names Ariane Schiereck Chief Digital and Information Officer

Colonial Pipeline names Darrell Riekena CIO

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield announces Dorothea (“Dori”) Henderson as CDIO

Carol Lee Joins La-Z-Boy as CIO

Webster Bank appoints Vikram Nafde as CIO

Skillsoft has named Orla Daly as CIO

Brad Warezak Joins Rocket Lab as CIO

Milton’s Distributing and Gordon Logistics hires Scott Gardner as CIO

Baystate Health names Kevin Conway CIDO

Nicole White Joins Odyssey Logistics & Technology as CIO

FuelCell Energy hires John Dutsar to lead IT

Limbach Holdings promotes Christos Ruci to CIO

Yale University elevates John Barden’s CIO role

Medtronic appoints Lidia Fonseca as a new board director

New CIO appointments, June 2022

Northwestern Mutual appoints Jeff Sippel Chief Information Officer

Brett Craig promoted to EVP & CIO at Target

Springs Window Fashions names Chetan Balsara CIO

Chris Clark joins Black Rifle Coffee Company as CTO

Brown & Brown hires Kiet Tran as CTO

Craig Kwiatkowski, PharmD, named CIO at Cedars-Sinai

Donatos names Steven Graves Chief Information Officer

XIFIN appoints John Kelly as Chief Information Officer

Cenlar FSB appoints Steven Taylor as SVP & CIO

Foley Equipment welcomes Kirk Hay as its new CIO

Lincoln Electric names Lisa Dietrich EVP & CIO

Brown Harris Stevens names Chris Reyes Chief Information & Product Officer

Adventist Health appoints Jennifer Stemmler as Chief Digital Officer

First Bank hires Terrence Thomas as CIO

Saket Srivastava joins Asana as CIO

Mike Macrie has joined Melissa & Doug as CIO

New CIO appointments, May 2022

The Home Depot Promotes Matt Carey to EVP of Customer Experience and names Fahim Siddiqui EVP and CIO

Deb Hall Lefevre hired as CTO of Starbucks

Dentons Names Ash Banerjee as Global Chief Information Officer

John Hill joins MSC Industrial Supply as SVP and Chief Digital Officer

Carhartt appoints Katrina Agusti as CIO

Lenovo adds CTO of Solutions & Services Group to Arthur Hu’s CIO responsibilities

AMD appoints Hasmukh Ranjan to SVP & CIO following Xilinx acquisition

Craig Richardville named CDIO at Intermountain Health after merger with SCL Health

FirstEnergy Promotes Ernest N. Maley to VP & CIO

OneDigital Hires Marcia Calleja-Matsko as CIO names a new CTO and a new CIO

Jessie Minton is the new CIO at Washington University in St. Louis

U.S. Medical Management appoints Kristin Darby as CIO

The Lovesac Company Appoints Todd Duran as CIO

Shokie Lopez is Santa Cruz Bicycles’ new CIO

Supplemental Health Care names Simon Curtis Chief Digital Officer

City of Oakland appoints Tony Batalla as new CIO

New CIO appointments, April 2022

PayPal Appoints Archana (Archie) Deskus as EVP & CIO

Jennifer Hartsock joins Cargill as Chief Information & Digital Officer (CIDO)

Rite Aid expands Justin Mennen’s role

Juan Perez joins Salesforce as Chief Information Officer

Mark Bloom joins Gallagher as CIO

Republic National Distributing Co. names Sanjay Shringarpure as CIO

Keolis North America appoints Alex Wu as CIO

Chico Moline assumes CIO position at Amentum

Partha Srinivasa is the new EVP & CIO at Erie Insurance

Waitr names Matthew Coy Chief Information Officer

Michael Smith is named CIO at InnovaPrep

Illumina welcomes Carissa Rollins as Chief Information Officer

Serta Simmons Bedding announces Shoukat Ali Bhamani as its new CTO

The CIA appoints La’Naia Jones as CIO of the agency

Dr. Karl Mathias appointed CIO for U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Boston Mayor appoints Santiago Garces as new CIO

Monogram Foods announces incoming CIO Dawn Drewry

Ann Madea has joined Simmons Bank as CIO

Matthew Gunkel is named Associate Vice Chancellor & CIO at UC Riverside

WOWorks hires Kyle Mark as its first CIO

Insight appoints Sumana Nallapati as CIO

New CIO appointments, March 2022

Sanofi selects Lakshmi Eleswarpu as SVP & Global CIO

Dupe Akinyede is named CIO of Resideo Technologies

CME Group promotes Sunil Cutinho to CIO

Joe Carroll Named CITGO Chief Information Officer

Mark Mospan is the new CIO at Foundation Partners Group

Painters Supply & Equipment appoints Tareq Falah to CIO post

MarketAxess announces new CIO, Nash Panchal

Just Born Quality Confections names Chidi Alams to CIO post

United Natural Foods elects Shamim Mohammad to its board of directors

Cadence Appoints Mary Louise Krakauer to Board of Directors

Former Morgan Stanley CIO, Sigal Zarmi, joins BigID’s board of advisors

New CIO appointments, February 2022

Wayfair names Fiona Tan Chief Technology Officer

USAA appoints Amala Duggirala to Enterprise CIO post

Sharmeelee Bala named CIO of J.C. Penney

U.S. Senate Confirms Kurt DelBene as CIO of the VA

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield appoints Cindy Langston as its first female CIO

FirstEnergy Names Steve Fortune Vice President & CIO

Research Triangle Institute International hires Jorge Elguera as CIO

Matthew Kurpinski named CIO for ITC Holdings

Matt Watkins is the new CIO at IMA Financial Group

EmployBridge appoints Don Sloan to Chief Digital Officer position

Neiman Marcus has promoted Vijay Karthik to SVP & CTO

Flexsys appoints Jose Boloqui to be CIO

Gelson’s Markets promotes Ron Johnson to VP & CIO

Integral Ad Science Appoints Robert Janecek as CIO

Innoveo Adds Veteran CIO Al-Noor Ramji to its Board of Directors

New CIO appointments, January 2022

TIAA Appoints Sastry Durvasula Chief Information & Client Services Officer

Fannie Mae appoints Ramon Richards as Chief Information Officer

John Sherman sworn in as Department of Defense Chief Information Officer

DXC Technology names Kristie Grinnell as its Chief Information Officer

Jane Moran has joined Mass General Brigham as CIDO

Genesys names Wesley Story Chief Information Officer

Farmers Business Network hires Kumud Kokal to be its first CIO

Dave Berry is the new CIO at Boardriders

Atlanticus Holdings promotes Kas Naderi to the CIO position

Matrix Medical Network Selects Tom Catchings as CIO

St. Luke’s names Chris Sorenson Chief Information Officer

Bindu Purushothaman named CIO of Satellite Healthcare

Ram Balasubramanian joins Canoo as Chief Information Officer

Careers, CIO, IT Leadership

As more people get comfortable buying big ticket Items like cars on the internet, Volkswagen Financial Services South Africa (VWFS SA) knew it needed to simplify the entire process. CIO Wilma Crosson was in charge of making this happen.

Improving its direct sales channel demanded that they come up with a way to, first of all, cut the time it takes for customers to complete the sales process. And, in doing so, VWFS SA made it easier for customers to buy a new car without ever having to set foot inside a dealership. 

Someone looking to buy a car can either go into a dealership and talk to a finance and insurance manager who helps them though the process, from drawing up sales contracts, to arranging payment for the car and offering them additional products. That’s one process. The other more direct route now is a customer visiting the website and doing everything there. Looking at the entire customer journey—from customer awareness to payment and delivery—was just one step in the chain Crosson wanted to improve. Discussing what drove the move, she outlines that the pandemic forced most companies to look at their digital capabilities. “We knew we needed to transform digitally to stay competitive,” she says. “We wanted to improve our online applications process because we weren’t getting a lot of traffic from this channel. When we looked at it more closely, we realized our online journey wasn’t very efficient, requiring customers to spend about 30 minutes filling out paperwork.”  

Finding the right solution

VWFS SA is owned by two shareholders Volkswagen Financial Services AG (Germany) and The First Rand Group. When it started talking about improving the online application process, it was lucky it could use software developed by one of these shareholders to make the application process a lot shorter. The solution uses APIs and AI to run an affordability background check so it can quickly verify if the customer qualifies for the deal. This meant VWFS SA could reduce the number of fields customers had to complete from 250 to just 10. “We were quite lucky we could just tailor this solution to meet our specific needs,” she says.  

To do so, the brand partnered with an external service provider. “I think it’s always quite daunting trying to choose the right service provider because you have to think about how the company aligns with your organization’s culture and with your future needs. So we had to come up with quite strict criteria,” she says, and according to Crosson, companies from different types of industries, different sizes, and with different levels of experience were in the running for the project. The final decision came down to what they needed now, as well as what would be needed in the future.

The business case for outsourcing

“Because of how our company is structured, I’ve outsourced most of my business-as-usual activities to an IT service provider so I don’t have in-house developers or a huge complement of IT staff that can execute for me,” says Crosson. “But we do need to have some skills in-house that our chosen IT service provider, SovTech, then supports.” Obviously, this comes with some challenges. Being a company that outsources a lot, VWFS SA had to get very good at ensuring their SLAs were well structured and well managed. “I use the term ‘managed’ because if you don’t meet with your service providers quarterly, or in the case of certain projects, monthly, and if you don’t have the necessary KPI-driven conversations, you’re kind of dead in the water,” she says, adding this is especially important when you work with multiple providers because they also need to work together.  

While she does admit this is where most of her challenges came from, she cites an agile approach to project management as being critical to the project’s success. “I promise you, having weekly meetings, where we were all are together and could discuss progress helped a lot,” she says.

The devil is in the data

When looking back on how the project went, she admits they had a lot of data-related challenges, because it all sits with their IT service provider. “If I, as the CIO, want to enable key business objectives, like streamlining our online journey, I need to be able to run a marketing campaign, for example,” she says. “But to do this, I need to know who my customers are and which ones have actually opted in to receive marketing content. So I need that data.”

But when the data sits in an external environment, this is a big challenge because someone needs to go through a third party to access it. Plus, Crosson says that when you outsource to a third party, you run on their migration timelines and you have to fit in their schedule. If these timelines interfere or conflict with a request you make, it can delay progress, which is exactly what VWFS SA experienced and it delayed their project by about three weeks. “The lesson learned for us was we need to be more aware of our service provider’s technical roadmaps so we can plan accordingly and, where possible, work around them,” she says.

Looking at some of the learnings from this project specifically, she adds that sometimes the answers to problems are right in front of you. “Our customers are digital, our competitors are digital, our employees are digital, so it made good business sense for us to be more digital too,” she says.

Automotive Industry, CIO, Digital Transformation, IT Leadership

Skandia consists of several different companies, of which insurance and banking are the two largest. The insurance business has old roots: the pension company was started as early as 1855, while the bank only started in 1994, yet it was first as a purely telephone bank.

In light of this, the technical basis on which each company rests is very different.

“On the insurance side, we have mainframe technology, while the bank relies on newer, Windows-based technology and basically has no legacy,” says Skandia CIO Johan Clausén. “So they are different situations.”

Right now, there is also a major change initiative taking place to consolidate and gradually transfer to standard systems—a process that’s taking a very long time. But the challenge with the older systems is not the technology or the systems themselves, he notes.

“The mainframe is very reliable and with new integration solutions such as z/OS Connect, we have good conditions to solve the integration needs we have,” he says. “The challenge, rather, is the amount of systems and the complexity with the number of systems and business logic.”

As part of the ongoing change, the business system Lumera, formerly Itello, which is used by many in the financial industry, is also being implemented.

“We will run the installation on prem in our own data centers,” says Clausén. “It’s a system that’s largely customized to the customer. At the moment, we don’t see any big gains from having it in the cloud the way the system is built. And another reason for that is the Schrems II judgment and GDPR where, among other things, it’s about the risk of putting it in the cloud and then maybe being forced to bring it home. It can be challenging to put system solutions in the cloud, but it’s probably more challenging to bring it home from the cloud.”

Because of this, Skandia has no plans to make an entire move toward the cloud despite having a multicloud strategy using the public cloud, private cloud, and on prem depending on what they think is appropriate.

“What’s important to us is to make informed decisions based on use and which information is to be processed,” he says. “We’re in an industry of trust. That’s important to remember.”

Not just changing technology

Above all, the benefit of reducing complexity is it simplifies business processes, digitization, and it takes less time to get new functionality.

“The important thing for me is the business transfer we make in a shift like this and not just that we migrate from one system solution to another,” says Clausén. “I constantly say no to suppliers who want us to do a so-called lift and shift, where we just go from one technology to another. It doesn’t produce the effects we want. When we build new, we should think about how we want the business to look in the future, not just build the same.”

Even before the pandemic, Skandia had switched to working agile according to the Safe framework, which has created completely different conditions for IT and operations to go hand in hand, according to Clausén.

“It’s about involvement and inclusion,” he says. “When everyone works together, it’s easier to influence and explain to each other where the biggest advantage of agile working methods lies; that we have common priorities everyone knows about and is involved in, and that there are no priorities on the side.”

The IT side is growing

With the agile way of working, resources that previously belonged to projects have been moved into IT, which has meant that during his seven years as CIO, the unit has grown to nearly 600 employees, nearly a quarter of the company’s total 2,300 employees.

And the unit still has a great need for new employees. Last year, over 80 people were recruited, and more growth is the aim for the near future as well. For Skandia’s part, the uncertain economic times can even be an advantage when it comes to attracting talent.

“Everyone is affected by the recession, but we are in an industry that has fared relatively well compared to others,” he says. “The insurance side has a long-term perspective like few other industries, and the bank has achieved good results. So my feeling is we’re in a good position.”

Sustainability in focus

Consolidation can often be seen as a way to more sustainable outcomes with greater energy efficiency—something not lost on Clausén.

For a couple of years, Skandia, and Clausén in particular, has started to include sustainability as a priority when making IT decisions. Among other things, he’s been involved in starting the CIOCO2 initiative because he sees there’s a lot to do on the IT side.

“Too little thought has been given to sustainability in IT and it’s going too slowly,” he says. “After my years on the supplier side, I strongly believe in driving development by setting requirements in procurements.”

He points out that if a customer goes to the supplier with requests for how a service should be designed, nothing happens unless the supplier believes it’s possible to make a profit in the near future. But when the same thing comes from 20 customers, it becomes difficult for the supplier not to act.

But if there’s sustainability criteria in a procurement and a supplier doesn’t meet them as well as others, it doesn’t necessarily signal an end to that partnership.

“Instead, you can set demands that within a certain time they must have reached a required level,” he says. “In this way, you push on and raise the general level.”

How suppliers respond when demands on sustainability are made, however, can vary widely.  

“There’s no one who doesn’t think it’s important, but some have difficulty delivering what we want because their company has not progressed far enough,” says Clausén.

CIO, Cloud Management, Digital Transformation, IT Leadership

John Meister is the senior vice president and CIO of Panera Bread, a chain of bakery-cafe fast casual restaurants with more than 2,000 locations across the United States and Canada. Over the past decade at Panera, Meister has been instrumental in driving Panera’s customer digital experience initiatives and building an innovative IT culture that continues to stay ahead of fast changes in the marketplace. Under his leadership, Panera’s websites and apps have won numerous awards, including #1 Most Innovative Company in Food by Fast Company and Industry Best in Tech by Restaurant Business.

When we spoke for a recent episode of the Tech Whisperers podcast, Meister shared some of the secret sauce of his leadership, including how he navigates complexity and his passion for delivering on the experience promise, both externally for customers and internally for IT associates and team members. Afterwards, we spent some more time talking about his winning formula and what’s next for his team. What follows is that conversation, edited for length and clarity.

Dan Roberts: IT leaders are always looking ahead to the next big thing. What’s next for you in setting Panera up for continued success? What are you and your team excited about looking ahead?

John Meister: For Panera, everything begins with the guest experience. Recently, we’ve done some great things in our rewards program around choosing your next reward. We’ve traditionally guessed at what it is you’re going to be ecstatic around — our ‘surprise and delight.’ But the reality is, we don’t always guess right — you may want to try something new. So, we’re adding options. Here’s a popular item if you’re in the mood to try something new, or here’s something that people like you typically choose, or you can do your regular order.

We’re also thinking a lot about personalization — creating all these micro-moments that can make ordering a little bit better. If we know, for example, that a guest always takes the onions off their order, then if they forget, we know to ask about it.

We’re also excited about digital drive-thrus and finding ways to improve the guest experience, whether it’s conversational AI ordering or picking up the digital order in the drive-thru. For years we contemplated doing a digital order pickup in the drive-thru, but thought, we can’t train the consumer to do it. Now, everyone’s gone there with COVID. So we return to those moments and think much more deeply about the interaction. We’re seeing very high customer satisfaction scores in those interactions. To summarize, I do think there is room to innovate in our main ordering wheelhouse. From an innovation standpoint, we’re still excited about conversational AI. We’re still excited about automation. Whether it’s accounting tasks, IT tasks, taking orders, or prepping food in the kitchen, there are a lot of exciting things on the automation horizon.

Roberts: There’s another complexity you have to contend with in your business, and that’s the fact that your industry experiences 100% turnover annually in the cafés. How are you addressing and impacting that?

We watch restaurant GM turnover and associate turnover closely, and our operations partners and HR partners have done such an amazing job over the last 12 to 18 months. It blows my mind how much they’ve improved Panera. Our attrition is among the best in the industry, and we’re rated the number one restaurant to work at by Black Box — that’s amazing. Still, you must think about quickly onboarding new team members. How do you segment people that are inspired by more hours? Or learning different roles? Or career growth? How do you think about inspiring team members, and how do you speak to them from that mindset? How do you teach a GM to treat the cafe associates like family? We look deeply at these aspects.

At the same time, we must make things easy — so easy that even I can go into a cafe and make sandwiches for an hour without a lot of training ahead of time. That’s hard to do because I’m not very good at making sandwiches. We constantly think about onboarding and our ease of use as intensely as we think about the guest experience.

Roberts: I joke that data is a four-letter word in many companies. How are you thinking about data and using it to address the logistics of the business?

Step one is hiring people smarter than you in any given subject. We have people much smarter than me when it comes to restaurant data. The first part of leveraging data is really understanding what we want to do with it — what is the KPI or the business metric we want to change? Maybe it’s attrition. Maybe it’s store profits. Maybe it’s location analysis for choosing new real estate locations. Then we look at the business situation and come up with a hypothesis around x. Now let’s get the data behind the hypothesis and see if the hypothesis makes a difference. Then, as you approach those learning moments, turn it into a dashboard, so it’s something that can live and breathe across the enterprise. If we look at store profitability, is it labor? Is it food cost? Is it overhead? Is it paper goods? Let’s put all the usual suspects onto a page so that the GM can understand it very quickly. If something starts to veer off our normal, the GM should be able to find it quickly and easily.

So, you go from thinking about a hypothesis, proving it, creating a dashboard, and then the next thing you know, you’ve got a million pieces of data screaming for attention, and you’re overwhelmed. Then you decide to make the data proactive. If something veers off course, send a proactive alert. Make the data much more interactive: It looks like there’s something going on with x, do we need to pay attention to it — yes or no? Even if it’s a no, let’s take that back and learn from it. Was there something else that we can look at over the long haul? Or, we have ten no’s and we don’t understand why. Let’s call some restaurant GMs to educate us. In the end, we come away smarter, and we discover new things we can do with our tools, and our end goal is to always make life better for the GMs.

Roberts:  We talked a lot about the culture you’re building and how you help your folks think about their value and show up differently. For example, you have your people out in the cafés and connecting with that broader purpose. Can you talk a bit more about that and how that impacts customers and associates?

I loved working at MasterCard — top of the technology game, amazing talent — but it was very hard to see what you did every day translate to the real world. Here, it’s just the opposite. I can finish coding something and test it today, put it in the cafe for a prototype or proof of concept, and then go into the cafe and watch our associates or customers use it. If I coded something to help us make sandwiches better, I can go make sandwiches myself or watch others make sandwiches. You get to experience it and live it.

Every new support center associate must go work in the bakery-cafe for a few days — it’s part of our onboarding process. That’s phenomenal, because you come away with ideas to improve our business with technology to make life easier for our employees and our customers. In the moment of working in the cafe, you might dread it because you are nervous, but then you get immersed and love it. You’re going to spend the next five years wishing you could do it again. And then when you finally get that opportunity, you’re so happy to have all these new insights. You want to do something that makes a difference. We really try and walk the walk.

Roberts: As leaders we are always being watched. People read how we handle ourselves in situations, especially the more challenging ones. How do you think about that in terms of how you show up and take ownership in the hard times?

I always say, mood is contagious. You must not take yourself seriously. Laugh at yourself a little bit. At the same time, think about the big picture, understand how your role resulted in this situation and remind people how we got here. It’s so easy to beat yourself up when things aren’t going well. Remind yourself of the big picture, why I’m here, what’s the difference I’m trying to make.

And look for ways to refresh and inspire others. There’s times I have to remind everyone, we’re here selling soups and salads and sandwiches, and we’re making a difference in people’s lives. Go out and look at some of those customer stories about how we helped the mom or dad who had cancer or made this other person’s dream come true. Those stories melt your heart and remind you why you’re here. But always try and have as much fun as you can. Because mood is contagious.

Roberts: Speaking of showing up, could I get you to share the ‘toasted bagel’ story, which speaks to the commitment your leadership team has to continuous improvement? I also see it as the story of a CIO who is seen as a business leader first.

This was in around 2014 or so. Every morning, the CEO would use our new mobile app to order breakfast and get it on the way to drop his son off at school. He’d stop at the light and send his son in to pick up the order. If his son could come back with the order before the light turned green, I had a good day. If he had to pull into the parking lot, I had long morning.

The CEO always ordered the same thing: a Green Passion smoothie and a toasted plain white bagel. It’s an order that we can’t leave on the shelf for too long, so there was no way for me to beg the GM to make my life easier. I would go about a week without hearing from the CEO and think, we’ve finally got this experience down. It’s 25 seconds from the time you get out of the car to get your food and get back in the car. I would time myself over and over. But it had to be that way every time. The CEO would change cafes and sure enough, I’d hear something again. Eventually, I went about three weeks without hearing from him and I thought, maybe this is it.

Then I started to get these text messages: ‘This is the toasted bagel I got this morning at this location. Then I went to a different location, and this is the toasted bagel there, and I went to a third location, and this is the toasted bagel there.’ In the pictures, one bagel was dark, one was light, and one was barely toasted. One had toast marks on it, one didn’t. The inconsistency was terrible.

That’s when I knew I’d arrived as a business leader, because I’d owned this experience so much that now he wanted me to fix our toasting. I laughed, because I thought, I can go out and buy $100,000 AI-enabled toasters with cameras in them, but that’s not what the CEO is going to want. I went to Boston for my standing Friday meeting with him, and he had a poster with bagels from about 30 cafes, organized from light to dark. What are we going to do?

I went back to the Operations Services team, who are much smarter than I am, and asked for help. They suggested looking at the factory settings on these toasters. Let’s get a color guide out to the cafes. If a toasted bagel matches this color, turn it down a notch, if it matches that color, let’s turn it up two notches, etc. We needed to go out and adjust the toasters and get back to the basics on the equipment. That’s when I knew the technology was no longer our challenge — and that our little Rapid Pick-Up® channel had arrived.

For more from Meister’s leadership playbook, tune into the Tech Whisperers podcast.

IT Leadership, IT Strategy

The CIO 100 returns for 2023 to showcase and celebrate the top 100 CIOs and their teams across the UK.

The Official CIO 100 Awards UK acknowledges the best and brightest CIOs and technology leaders in the UK, celebrating their digital transformation achievements, and reflecting on themes and ideas which emerged from submissions.

The awards are open exclusively to IT leaders in the UK, with winners receiving an invitation to the live awards to celebrate peers, announcements as a 2022 winner via CIO marketing channels, as well as further exposure of their success through

This year the CIO 100 Awards will be co-located with the CIO Summit, the annual thought leadership event held by CIO UK. The event will be held at the Leonardo Royal Hotel St Paul’s.

The winner of the 2022 CIO 100 was Joanna Drake, CIO of THG. In her interview with CIO.COM, she shared: “If this was about me, as an individual, I’d struggle to do a [CIO 100] submission, so it’s about the team and I’m blessed and honoured to work with some amazing people every day, with so much grit, determination and creativity”. She also added it was an opportunity to stop and reflect on how far they’ve come in a year, and how she fell into IT after a career in tennis failed to materialise, first starting in a help desk support before progressing into service management and engineering positions.  

New for 2023

Alongside the CIO 100, CIO UK will be sharing Industry Recognition Awards, highlighting outstanding applications in particular fields. Winners of the Industry Recognition Award can be part of the CIO 100 but can also be recognised outside of it. Categories for the 2023 Industry Recognition Awards are:

Large Enterprise


Public Sector

Outstanding Application


ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance)

The same application can be used for both the CIO 100 and industry recognition awards, there will be an opportunity at the end of your submission to choose which category you would like to be considered for.

Submissions can be made directly or on behalf of an individual. All entries are reviewed by an expert judging panel and winners are announced at the live and in-person event, which will include a three-course dinner and an awards ceremony. Editorial, networking, and event opportunities will also be shared exclusively, to apply for the CIO 100, follow this link. The deadline for submitting an application for the CIO 100 is Friday 16th June.

CIO 100

It’s no secret that the labor market has been volatile in recent years, with workers moving positions in record numbers.

But it’s not just lower-level staffers making moves: Plenty of CIOs have been shuffling jobs during the past few years, too.

In its 2022 Global Leadership Monitor survey, executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates reported that 56% of technology executives moved to a different company during the prior year — a higher percentage than their peers in finance, human resources, legal, risk & compliance, and operations.

The same survey revealed that 50% of technology executives, which includes CIOs as well as CTOs, CISOs and chief digital officers, said they’re willing to change employers for the right opportunity. Half of that cohort further expressed “a strong desire to leave their current employer.”

But how do CIOs know it’s time to make a move — particularly when there are no real problems driving them out the door?

There are both telltale and personally-felt signs that indicate the time is right to move on — even if everything is going well in a current job, according to experienced CIOs, career coaches, and executive advisers.

“Jobs often have a natural ending,” says Trevor Schulze, who became CIO of analytics software company Alteryx in 2021 after three years as senior vice president and CIO at RingCentral.

Schulze, who says he has some strategies for knowing when to make a move, is thoughtful about what he wants to do for work, acknowledging that he has “a passion for building.” As such, he looks for roles at companies “that I really feel passionate about” and are looking to transform.

The Monday morning test

Even if he’s in a position that meets his transformative criteria, Schulze still keeps an eye out for signs that it’s time to depart. Here, the “Monday morning test” can be a key indicator for making that call.

“First, I’m honest [when asking myself]: Are you energized or deflated on Monday morning going into that workweek? Am I fulfilled in my role? With fulfillment for me meaning I’m learning and growing. Or have I hit a ceiling?” he explains, noting that he has mentored others to use such questions as they make career choices.

Schulze developed this litmus test early in his career when heading to work one Monday following a particularly tough stretch of days. Going into his office, he knew that he and his colleagues would be challenged with fixing some issues that had surfaced.

“So I tested myself by asking: Is this something I wanted to do?” he says. “I said, ‘Absolutely.’ I wanted to be a change agent. I saw exciting things ahead of me.”

Schulze has used this test ever since to help guide decisions on whether to stay in a current role — a practice that is particularly helpful for making the right call when he’s approached by recruiters.

“It’s human nature when you find something dangled in front of you to want to pursue it. But if you are doing a great job at a good organization and you are changing the organization, that’s a great thing and not something that I’d walk away from,” he says. “Technology leaders get approached constantly with new opportunities, and I’m no exception. But if I’m still energized with driving my [current] company’s agenda I say, ‘No thank you.’”

He adds: “I pass opportunities onto other people constantly, and I think more people need to do that. They need to have the courage to say ‘Not now.’”

On the other hand, there have been times when Schulze’s response to that test question has helped him realize it’s best to consider new opportunities. The tipping point? “When too many Monday mornings you feel you don’t want to do this anymore.”

Breaking points

There are, of course, many circumstances that would prompt a CIO to leave. CIOs are sometimes pushed out, something they may recognize is evolving when they’re excluded for strategy sessions or sidelined to special projects. In such cases, advisers say most CIOs can read the tea leaves and know it’s time to put themselves back on the job market.

But veteran CIOs, executive advisers, and recruiters say it may take some introspection and good observation skills to understand other scenarios that might indicate that it’s time to exit a position on a high note.

For example, CIOs who find that they’re transforming elements that they already transformed at least once before often see that as a good time to break away.

“Some CIOs can start again, but others, or even more CIOs, say, ‘I’ve done this and I’ve had a good run.’ And once they get through one transformation, they may not want to do it again there,” says John-Claude (JC) Hesketh, the London-based CEO of global executive search and leadership advisory firm Marlin Hawk.

Coming to such realizations takes time and attention.

“There’s no one clear ‘That’s it, this happened, that’s the linchpin, it’s time to go,’” says Kristen Lamoreaux, president and CEO of Lamoreaux Search, who has seen plenty of CIOs opt for graceful exits by departing while they’re still effective in their roles.

In many cases, she says, CIOs who leave on a high note recognize that the role or its mission are changing in ways that they don’t want or aren’t suited for. A CIO who excels at growth, for example, may see the company — and thus IT — heading into maintenance or cost-cutting mode and, being self-aware about their strengths and interests, see that as a good time to start looking.

“They know it’s not going to be a good fit,” Lamoreaux says, adding that some CIOs have told her that they recognized a need to move on when they started to feel stunted or worn down in their current role, rather than energized.

Still other CIOs decide to leave once they’ve accomplished what they set out to do, she says.

“When you hit certain stage gates, when you can say, ‘I did this. It’s going well. Wow, look at what I did.’ When you’re crafting those bullet points to go your resume and you say, ‘I don’t think I’m going to top that,’ then it may be time to look,” she adds.

Establishing the exit signs in advance

Raj Iyer had an approach like that when it came to his position as CIO for the US Army. Iyer accepted that post in late 2020, after working nearly six years at Deloitte Consulting first as senior manager for Technology Strategy, Defense and National Security and then managing director for Government and Public Services.

Iyer says he decided to take the Army CIO job because it “was a tremendous opportunity to serve our nation and give something back and to help shape its future.”

But he adds: “I also knew I wasn’t going to spend the rest of my career there.”

Iyer says he took the position with a transformation mandate, one that would require “running at 200% all the time every day” to create a “future-ready” organization that he outlined in his Army Digital Transformation Strategy.

He set objectives and deadlines, saying that having these in place motivated everyone to get the work done quickly and on time. And he gave himself a deadline of three years, aiming to hit the markers he had established for himself as CIO and then transition out.

“I knew I had to drive a sense of urgency, and to do that, I knew I had to put time limits on myself so I could pull everyone at a quicker pace than they were used to,” he says, noting that “the sooner I worked myself out of the job, the better for the Army and the nation.”

He further explains: “When you want to be a transformative leader and a change agent, there’s a certain lifespan you have. You can come in as an outsider, question the status quo, make changes. But the longer you stay, you become the status quo, and someone else then has to come in. And so I told myself when we got to a point where we had critical mass, where we built irreversible momentum, it was going to be time for me to leave.”

Iyer stepped down as Army CIO in March 2023 and joined ServiceNow as head of its Global Public Sector business.

Iyer says he has not set deadlines for himself in this new role, noting that his work and the sense of urgency are different at ServiceNow than they were at the Army. He says he’ll stay “as long as I’m challenging myself and I’m in positions where I am learning and can grow and work in a bigger scale than I was before.”

Seeking more challenges

The desire for growth is, in fact, a common refrain among CIOs as they talk about their career decisions and their decisions about whether to stay or leave.

It’s a big part of Mojgan Lefebvre’s story and her three-decade tech career. Lefebvre has been CIO at four companies, explaining that she decided to leave each role despite all their positive aspects for the chance to tackle new challenges.

“I knew I was ready to move,” she says, noting that they were calculated even if they weren’t easy to make.

As an example, she points to her decision to move in 2010 from her job as corporate vice president and global CIO of the French company bioMerieux to work as SVP and CIO of Commercial Insurance Business at Liberty Mutual Insurance.

“That was a tough call for me,” she says.

She had to weigh what she was getting versus what she was giving up, explaining that she would head up IT for a division that was bigger than bioMerieux but would no longer be reporting to a CEO but instead Liberty Mutual’s global CIO.

Lefebvre made the call to leave bioMerieux after a mentor advised her the move to Liberty Mutual “would be the best move you could make” if she aimed to someday be CIO of a large organization.

In fact, she credits that move for putting her on the path to Travelers. She left her position as senior vice president and CIO of Global Risk Solutions at Liberty Mutual in 2018 to become CIO at Travelers. She is now Traveler’s executive vice president and chief technology and operations officer.

Careers, CIO

Bernd Rattey has been Group CIO and CDO of Deutsche Bahn (DB) since 2021, after being in charge of IT at subsidiary DB Fernverkehr AG for five years. And it was during that time he got to know the railways from a different business area. In his eyes, the entire DB group works like a federal system, made up of business units with their own design aspirations.

“An estimated 15,000 to 20,000 people work at Deutsche Bahn who spend their working hours on digital issues,” he says. This includes, for example, software development and demand IT. But there are also employees in business units who consider what processes should look like, and which products should be offered digitally. “Business IT, often referred to as shadow IT, continues to grow there,” he says.

On the demand IT side, there are multiple tiers, according to Rattey. Corporate IT is at the top, for which he’s responsible, and below are the growing business areas, which, in turn, have their own business units for IT.

“The organizational solution at Deutsche Bahn can’t be to centralize all digital projects,” he says. Since the business processes are closely interlinked with IT, the effectiveness of digital solutions in the business areas is higher.

In the past, group IT used guidelines and instructions to tell the business areas what to do. Rattey wanted to change that. “During my time at DB Fernverkehr, I saw this wasn’t always effective,” he says. “And I didn’t lose this view in my new role. The CIOs of the business areas are responsible for the IT in their business, and the AG provides the framework.” With this new direction, group IT in the future will only be applied to topics that work better across departments, as opposed to individual projects in the business areas.

Through the federal system, DB has created many decentralized IT islands, like different systems for personnel planning in the business areas. “I don’t think we’ll switch to a central solution because the business models, requirements, and culture are too different,” he says. However, what he wants to create are, among other things, technical platforms. DB acted on the subject of data lakes a few years ago and is developing IoT and AI applications on this basis.

Railway strategy is IT strategy

“I don’t have a classic IT strategy,” says Rattey. However, that doesn’t mean IT colleagues work as they want. The “strong rail” strategy, which also looks beyond the confines of DB to the entire railway sector in Germany, is decisive for the company’s IT goals. The aim is to make the means of transport more attractive, and to shift traffic from road to rail. This includes, for example, expanding routes, transporting more goods by rail, or more closely synchronizing long-distance traffic between major cities.

“None of this can be implemented without IT, so it plays a significant role in achieving the overall goal,” says Rattey. “That’s why our IT strategy is exactly that.” The strong rail strategy defines the tasks and the portfolio of the entire IT of DB.

“For me, the IT portfolio for the next few years and the IT architecture have taken the place that IT strategy used to have,” he adds. This view doesn’t position IT outside of the organization, but rather gives it central importance in the company.

IT as the fifth resource

According to Rattey, within the rail transport companies (Eisenbahnverkehrsunternehmen, or EVU), including regional, cargo, and long-distance traffic, four resources have to be controlled: the trains, the routes used, the personnel on the trains, and the maintenance works. “An EVU must control and design this production cycle,” he says.

With IT, a fifth resource has now been added, because the cycle no longer works without it. For him, IT isn’t about classic administrative tasks. Rather, it’s part of the production system that ensures that the trains run.

Individual business areas within the federal railway IT system can now design certain aspects themselves. “It’s not my job as Group CIO to tell them all the details,” he says. “However, there are issues that we can only do across the board.” For example, DB Netz is responsible for the routes and the carriers for the vehicles. However, because many operating processes run across several companies, IT must function equally. “So it’s our job to bring these things to the group level,” says Rattey. “In this way, we ensure that such network processes work across the board.” To help make such processes work, the railway IT uses a large SAP R/3 system in maintenance, which is controlled comprehensively, including the logistics to get parts. “We can only generate a benefit here by looking at the overall picture,” he says.

The challenge of punctuality

Another example of comprehensive IT revolves around punctuality. “A big driver of it is construction work,” says Rattey. Construction sites are controlled by DB Netz, but the passenger experiences the effects of this with transport companies such as DB Regio, long-distance transport, or an external EVU. “In order to avoid delays, data must flow comprehensively here,” he says.

Creating a deployment plan takes weeks, however, and if a construction site is announced at too short notice, the processes no longer work. A replacement timetable has to be drawn up, which increases the risk of delays. That’s why DB measures punctuality in many different places. Measuring points are, for example, the arrival at the platform, leaving the factory, or the journey time to deployment. And this data affects several business areas.

So Rattey’s team has developed an intelligent system for data exchange: the Consortium Event Broker. Everyone involved can access the information via mobile devices and see what they can do to influence the process. Management uses the data to identify structural weaknesses. This could be, for example, too few tracks or an unfavorable timetable.

And in the rail system consortium, all players are bundled that are necessary to serve this production cycle. This includes various business areas and also transport companies that don’t belong to DB.

Four levers for more efficient IT

“A few years ago, the top level of rail IT established an organizational governance that tried to describe things with instructions and guidelines,” says Rattey. “But if these were too detailed and rampant, not everyone would stick to them.” To counteract this, he now uses four levers. The first is business strategy, described above.

The second lever is governance, which the CIO makes leaner. “We rely on a few rules that we live by together and consistently enforce,” says Rattey. This became apparent when the Log4j vulnerability became known in December 2021. “Since just one gap would be able to jeopardize the entire consortium, I had to ensure that all business units acted quickly,” Rattey says, recalling issuing the order that if all internet-facing systems weren’t patched within 48 hours, everyone had to go offline. “We managed that professionally with the CIOs and CISOs of the business areas, and there wasn’t any objection from a group board of directors,” he says. “Everyone went along with it. I’m a bit proud of that.”

The third lever lies in the design and implementation. IT should change things together with the business. These include the Consortium Event Broker or the AI ​​Factory. 

The biggest issue for Rattey, however, was the switch to SAP S4/HANA. “In the beginning, the project was viewed more technically, but for me it’s business transformation,” he says. It also wasn’t just about a release change, but transforming processes and designing them across the group.

The IT team tackled this project in three blocks: the first included finance, procurement and controlling; the second tackled vehicle maintenance; and the third aimed at managing technical systems, such as switches and signal boxes. In order to change these processes, DB has to analyze all business areas where processes can be standardized and how this can be solved with an SAP product.

That’s why projects like this always have dual leadership at DB. On the one hand there’s a person with an IT background for the technical project management. On the other, an employee who speaks the language of the business is appointed as the business owner for the functional project management. This person should be assertive and understand how business processes work.

“It’s about creating something together instead of working against each other,” says Rattey. Either the process has to be adapted to the IT system or vice versa. “You always have to consider both and strive for the best solution. We reflect that with the dual leadership.”

And in order to finance overarching projects, the head of IT has also changed the distribution of funds. “Last year, in the early stages of budget planning, the board of directors decided to reserve a sum of money centrally instead of allocating resources top-down by division,” says Rattey. So a pitch process was set up for this multi-million amount, and each business area can now apply with projects that contribute to more punctuality for the rail system consortium, and the most promising proposals are included in the portfolio.

Lastly, the fourth lever deals with IT services. This includes, for example, office communication using Microsoft 365 or the cyber defense center. “We can provide these services better and more professionally centrally,” Rattey says. “In addition, it’s more efficient in terms of costs and required resources.”

According to him, however, the business areas aren’t obliged to use these comprehensive services—with the exception of cybersecurity and solutions for the consortium. This freedom increases acceptance. “It’s my responsibility to offer something the divisions are happy to use, rather than impose something,” he says. “We want the business units to come to the group IT because they believe we can do something they can’t do with their own capacities.” This goal was achieved, among other things, through leaner governance. IT is no longer an obstacle that sets countless guidelines, says Rattey. Instead, it’s perceived as an enabler. Plus, the pitch process for IT budgets helps build trust in the business areas where IT actually solves business problems.

Rattey also wants to change processes on the CIO and CDO boards. He arranges the members of the committee according to subject areas such as architecture, portfolio, or security, and each block is staffed by a dual leadership of the line-of-business CIO and someone from Rattey’s core team. “I expect the two to act as a team so IT and business pull together instead of raising concerns about each other,” he says.

In the end, however, digitization happens across the board. “As IT, we basically have to build structures that support our staff and our customers,” Rattey says. “And we have to give them a voice to find out whether we are successful in doing so.”

Business IT Alignment, CIO, IT Leadership, IT Strategy

It has been three years since COVID sent us into remote work, and we now find ourselves with a new challenge: employees who have never met in person. 

The hybrid work paradigm has exposed the importance of getting in front of evolving changes in the way employees will work together in the future, accelerating IT leaders’ need not only to address the impact of hybrid work and sharpen their tech strategies to support it, but also to help shape the future workplace culture, in large part through employee experience initiatives.

As CIO of Cisco, Fletcher Previn plays a central role in defining the company’s new corporate culture. I spoke with him about the CIO’s new mandate to help create a best-in-class hybrid work culture and to define the future of work within their organizations, a problem that IT leaders must work to solve in real-time today.

Martha Heller: What is the problem with our current approach to hybrid work?

Fletcher Previn: Over the last few years, we have experienced the evolution of work in three phases: technology, cybersecurity, and culture. Phase one was getting the technology in place to support our employees in an environment of 100% remote work.

Then, we quickly shifted our attention to the next phase, which was solving the security challenge of employees working in homes with smart thermostats, online classes, and video games all potentially on the same network.

We are now in a third, more complex phase, which is establishing cultural norms about the way we work. During the first two phases, culture was less of a challenge, because employees knew one another from their time in the office. But over time, as people left their organizations and new people joined, we found ourselves with a challenge we had never had before: employees who have never met in person. We now have a new problem statement: What is a best-in-class hybrid work culture?

We are solving that problem in real-time, and the organizations that get it right will have a competitive advantage. The decisions we make as technology leaders will define what it feels like to work in our organizations. As CIOs, we are the designers of the future of work in a very real way.

How do you define ‘best-in-class’ from a social perspective?

I think about this in the context of a ‘relationship bank.’ When we are in the office and having impromptu discussions about our personal lives, or getting a meal together, or having non-work-related discussions, we are making deposits into the relationship bank. When we are asking things of each other in a meeting, we are making withdrawals.

In a remote environment, you tend to make more withdrawals than deposits, which can result in a relationship deficit, where work becomes a transactional activity. We spend more time working than doing anything else, so work needs to have a deeper meaning. It can’t be transactional. Best-in-class is a hybrid environment that allows for some of the magic and serendipity that happens when people are together physically.

As CIO of Cisco, how are you creating this type of environment?

My goal is to deliver a meaningful hybrid work experience that enables people to do the best work of their lives — whether in a remote or hybrid environment. My approach has always been to lead with user experience and design in everything we do, which means engineering solutions from the ‘user experience in’ instead of the ‘IT department out.’

User research and experience design was important before, but it’s an existential requirement in a hybrid world. Are there distractions in the home? Is someone working in a shared environment? Is it noisy? Is the internet unreliable? It would be very difficult to build an effective hybrid work strategy without user research and design capabilities at the front, coupled with continuous feedback loops. Today’s best user experience is tomorrow’s minimum expectation.

Our goal is to avoid the tale of two Cisco work environments, one where some people are in the office in a conference room together or joining remotely with high-quality reliable connectivity and collaboration tools, and others are on unreliable connections, struggling to hear and see what’s going on, and cannot read body language and non-verbal queues. We want an equal footing across all environments, so that people have the same meeting experience and career opportunities no matter where they are.

What technology changes should CIOs consider in designing the future of work?

The network that can properly support hybrid work needs to be more distributed, porous and has a very different attack surface than when we were all in the office. Technologies like Zero Trust become even more important, along with split tunnel VPNs and having the right endpoint security strategy so you don’t have to backhaul all the traffic in order to inspect it. You need carrier and path diversity at your carrier neutral facilities and network points of presence, and you want to have a good peering strategy so you can bring applications closer to the end users and take traffic off the public internet.

Full-stack observability becomes more urgent in a hybrid world. How do we really understand our employee experience our employees are having when they are connecting from across all sorts of networks that we don’t manage? We need to understand the performance of the public internet and various SaaS tools in order to really know what our hybrid work experience is going to be for our people. We also need tools that provide valuable observability that lets us detect and fix problems before our employees even know there is an issue brewing.

Also important is DNS filtering, multifactor authentication, network automation, and generally making sure that you and your team understand your network better than the apex predators who are trying to break into it.

How have you changed your management practices to deliver a positive employee experience?

Hybrid work has brought some informality to management practices in general, which I believe is a net positive, and I hope persists. But with this informality, rituals are still very important. With my own team, I have a check-in every morning and check-out at the end of every week. We have an end of week happy hour that is virtual, and monthly in-person operating reviews and quarterly in-person strategy and OKR alignment meetings. This is how we are operationalizing our culture; I am trying to create an operational cadence where we talk to each other regularly as a close-knit leadership team, even though we may not be in the office together every day.

Looking back five years from now, what will be the benefits of hybrid work?

The pandemic compressed what would have organically happened over 15 years into three or four years. We know now that work is an activity, not a location. If you have enabled your digital estate properly for hybrid work, supported by the right culture and rituals, then location is much less of an issue — and that means we now have the benefit of access to a global labor market. The past few years also triggered a lot of exciting innovation in the collaboration and end-user productivity space. Employees will have more agency over their destiny because they will not be limited to their physical location; they will make decisions about what mission they feel passionate about and what organization and culture they want to be a part of. This is a good thing because everyone benefits when people make those decisions thoughtfully.

Another significant benefit will be broader recognition that IT departments around the world are, to a large degree, designers of the future of work. All the decision points around remote access, security, collaboration, employee productivity, and so on — while they may feel tactical in the moment — collectively form the answer to the question, ‘What does it feel like to work in this organization?’ When you add up all the decision points that go into enabling your environment properly for hybrid work, you are defining the future of your culture.

IT Leadership, Staff Management