This week, I am delighted to report many new CIO appointments, but I would also like to mention a somewhat disconcerting trend I am beginning to see.
Over the last few weeks, I have spoken with CIOs across multiple industries, including hospitality, retail, semiconductors, and investment banking, who have left their jobs, sometimes voluntarily, sometimes not, and their CEOs have decided not to replace them. Rather, until the end of the year at least, they are asking the outgoing CIOs’ number two, a competent IT operations director, to keep the lights on while the company hunkers down through the next several months.
One the one hand, I see the rationale: “We have no major technology investments on the immediate horizon, so let’s not pay for an expensive IT executive.” But I worry that these companies are making a real mistake: with no technology strategy, they will miss out on finding new ways to get close to their customers and establishing new operational efficiencies. I also wonder what this portends for the role of the CIO. You have worked so hard to get to the table; let’s not let this downturn slide you back into the tactical trenches…
Now that I’ve gotten that out my systems, let’s get to the good news.
Food retailer Delhaize Group has named Scott Harrison as the chief information officer of the company's US operations. In this new role, Scott, who previously served as CIO for Food Lion, will monitor IT and supply chain solutions across Delhaize's US supermarkets Food Lion, Hannaford and Sweetbay. He will report to Terry Morgan, global chief information officer for Delhaize Group.
WorkflowOne, a business process outsourcing services provider for print and promotional marketing, announced that Robert M. Whittington has joined the company as CIO reporting to COO Dean Truitt. Whittington was formerly CIO for Wendy’s International.
Ron James has been appointed CIO to The Main Street America Group, a property-casualty insurance company. James joined Main Street America in November 2008 as interim chief information officer. He is based at the company’s corporate headquarters in Jacksonville, Fla., and reports to Tom Van Berkel, chairman, president and chief executive officer.
Alternative investment firm Aequitas Capital Management, Inc., today announced the appointment of Hedy Foreman as CIO. Foreman will become part of the firm’s private equity practice, supporting portfolio companies as well as the CarePaymentŽ finance product. Foreman’s experience includes positions as CIO at Health Dialog Inc., CTO of Altria Group, and senior IT and business executive with Bristol Myers.
Medical center Natividad announced the appointment of Kirk Larson as CIO who began on April 20. Larson has worked as a senior manager since 2006 for Kansas City-based Cerner Corp., a multibillion-dollar international health care information technology firm.
Linda Swift, the former CIO for the now defunct national furniture retailer Wickes Furniture, has just become the new CIO for Elkay Manufacturing in Oak Brook, IL.
Dan Stoneman has been promoted to the position of vice president of IT for Bridgepoint Education. With 20 years of professional information technology (IT) experience, Stoneman previously served as Bridgepoint's director of IT. In addition to managing the IT team, his responsibilities include the design, implementation of, and funding for all of the organization's corporate IT initiatives, agreements, programs, controls and resources. Dan will report to Tom Ashbrook, CIO. Prior to joining Bridgepoint, Stoneman served as vice president of products and technology for LizardTech, Inc., headquartered in Seattle, Wash.
Jason Ball is the new CIO of Florida Atlantic University and will replace Jeffrey Schilit, who is retiring after 30 years at the Boca Raton-based school. Ball’s most recent job was as assistant vice president and director of information technology at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne.