The Road from CIO to COO

Many of my CIO friends long to replace the "I" in their title an "O". With its promise of better compensation, higher status and an unquestioned place at the table, the “O” is a letter worth fighting for.

Many of my CIO friends long to replace the "I" in their title an "O". With its promise of better compensation, higher status and an unquestioned place at the table, the “O” is a letter worth fighting for.

CIOs who have made the leap to COO are still rare, but the trend is definitely happening.  And no wonder. CIOs touch every part of the business and with the rise of consumer technologies, technology will continue to move to center stage.   But while “CIO to COO” seems like an obvious move, it can be hard to achieve in reality.

Tom Bauer, formerly CIO of Allianz Life, has recently become COO of Security Life and offers his perspective.

“The COO role at Security Life was an opportunity to join a company on a solid growth path and broaden my personal competencies beyond IT ,” he says. “Leading the operations group will bring a new dimension to my skillset.”

How has his CIO role helped him prepare for the COO challenge?  “IT shops in general are more receptive to change than other parts of the company.  IT leaders live with change day in and day out.” He says. “That orientation toward change allows me to look with a fresh perspective at areas of operations where we can drive out costs and deliver better customer service.

Tom sees his toughest challenges in the months to come as he works with an energetic and innovative new leadership team and harnesses all of that good momentum into an executable plan for change. “Our plan is to grow our business by 50 percent in 18 months,” Tom says. “Like every other company, we cannot just stop our sales process to fix everything in the back offices.  My greatest challenge is keeping things running while realizing our vision for the future.

Tom’s advice for CIOs in search of COO role?   “You might want to consider moving to a smaller company to gain the COO experience,” says Tom, who in joining Security Life moved to a company considerably smaller than $10B Allianz Life. “What might feel like a step down is size may give you a sizeable increase in scope, perspective, and responsibilities.

Now, onto other news:

Time Warner Inc. announced that Bill Krivoshik will join the company as senior vice president and CIO. In this newly created position, Krivoshik will oversee the corporate information technology group, as well as lead the execution of the company’s enterprise-wide information technology strategy. He will also be responsible for a shared services initiative that will provide IT support to all Time Warner businesses in order to improve the efficiency of the company’s investments in information technology.  He will report to John Martin, Time Warner Inc.’s Chief Financial and Administrative Officer.

Staples announced the promotion of Christine Putur to CIO. In her new role, Putur will have global responsibility for information technology strategy and execution. Putur will report to John Mahoney, Staples vice chairman and chief financial officer.   Putur joined Staples in 1999, and has since held various leadership roles on the company's e-commerce, technology strategy, program management and US Retail technology teams. She most recently served as senior vice president of information systems for the company's North American Delivery businesses.

Putur succeeds Brian Light, who will lead the company's efforts around enhancing the customer experience across Staples' retail, delivery and contract businesses globally.

The Federal Communications Commission named Robert Naylor as CIO, a year after he left the same position at the Small Business Administration.  Naylor resigned from the CIO position at the SBA after serving for 14 months.  In his new role, Naylor will be in charge of managing the agency's IT systems, personnel and overseeing the shift towards cloud-based storage and applications under direction from the Obama administration.

Jean-François Bergeron  recently took the post of  vice president and CIO at Astral Media.

Bergeron has nearly twenty years' experience working for companies such as Cascades and Kruger, both in Canada and abroad, notably in England.   In this role, Bergeron’s  major responsibility is to lead the design of the IT strategy for Astral and its divisions based on their business needs, as well as oversee relevant project development.

Aleris has named Steven A. Faas senior vice president and CIO. Faas  will lead all Information Technology (IT) activities for the company, including global enterprise resource planning.  Faas joins Aleris from Cerberus Operations and Advisory Company, LLC, where he served as CIO/IT Operations executive since 2008. Before joining Cerberus, he was a consultant with the IT Turnaround Services practice at AlixPartners, LLP. Prior to that, Faas was vice president and CIO for ITT Corporation. He began his career at General Electric Company, and served for 18 years in Finance, Human Resources, Operations and IT roles, including as CIO for GE Energy Products.

Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp. has appointed Eric Rosenzweig as its next CIO.  Rosenzweig brings more than 25 years of corporate technology experience to the San Diego-based company, which owns 120 Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes buffet-style restaurants. Most recently, he served as vice president of information technology at PETCO Animal Supplies Inc.

Ron Sorozan has been appointed CIO at Amtrak.   Sorozan most recently served as Amtrak’s group information officer of operations, engineering and maintenance.  Previously, he  held CIO and vice president-information technology positions at DynCorp International.

Mike Vance has joined Vera Bradley as vice president and CIO. Previously, Vance was CIO and vice president of strategic planning at Steak ‘n Shake Co. He also held executive positions at Inrange Global Consulting and Arthur Andersen.    Based in Fort Wayne, Vera Bradley sells handbags, accessories, gift and home decor items through 3,300 specialty retailers, online and at 43 of its own stores.

Union Bank N.A. named John T. Itokazu  chief operations officer and CIO.  Itokazu -- who will be based in the bank's Monterey Park office -- will lead the company’s technology and operation groups with responsibility for central and distributed computing systems, information technology planning and engineering, data processing, telecommunications, security and contingency planning, and operations and customer service. He also will serve on the executive management team.

The State of California has appointed Carlos Ramos as CIO. Having worked for more than two decades in various capacities for state agencies, Ramos  is well known in the public-sector IT community for his project management expertise.  Since leaving public service in 2008, Ramos has started an IT consulting business and is a senior fellow for the Center for Digital Government, a national research institute that advises on the state and local government IT market.

Carnival Cruise Lines has named Dwayne Warner vice president and CIO, where he will oversee all of Carnival’s technology systems.  Warner joined Carnival in 1986 as a financial systems programmer and analyst, and was named vice president of strategic automation in 2000.  Prior to joining Carnival he spent four years in the United States Air Force stationed at Gunter Air Force Station in Alabama, where he helped design and develop various military IT systems. Warner graduated from Barry University with a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, and is a member of the Alpha Chi National College Honor Scholarship Society.

Wells Fargo EVP and head of Card Services and Consumer Lending group, Kevin Rhein was named senior EVP, CIO and head of the  enterprise-wide Technology and Operations Group.  An industry veteran, Rhein has over three decades of experience and headed Wells Fargo's Card Services and Consumer Lending organization. Rhein will continue to report to chairman and CEO John Stumpf.

By the way, for all of you CIOs out there grappling with new devices and cloud offerings, you may be interested in the following:

CALL IN - Sept 20 — The Cloud and Consumerization Paradox

Cloud computing and mobility are no longer buzzwords. The significant impact they now have across many industries is creating tensions in the CIO role around enablement vs. security, agility vs. integration, and business vs. IT in technology resource control. In this panel discussion with prominent IT leaders, CIO magazine Paradox columnist Martha Heller will moderate a discussion of how companies are managing these tensions as they reconsider their technology roadmaps, serve new customer bases and respond more effectively to the demands of business in a hyper-connected online world.

To register go to this link at CIO

As always, thanks for listening and keep sending me news!

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