by Ben Worthen

Gutierrez Nominated to Head Commerce Department

Dec 01, 20042 mins

President Bush tapped Kellogg’s CEO Carlos Gutierrez to head the Department of Commerce earlier this week, replacing outgoing Commerce Secretary Don Evans. Commerce oversees the Technology Administration, which is in charge of setting policies to aid the development of the high-tech sector.

So what kind of leader will Gutierrez be from the CIO standpoint? My gut says a better one than Evans. Like a lot of Bush advisors, Evans’ background is the Texas oil industry and he has shown little interest in technology issues or the high-tech sector. Gutierrez on the other hand, studied at the Monterrey Institute of Technology in Mexico, and Kellogg seems to be an aggressive adopter of technology. I say seems because I could hardly find any detailed information. Here’s what I did find.

  • By 1997, Kellogg’s was already pursuing a global ERP project, mentioned in this CIO article Crossing No Man’s Land.
  • In 2004, Baseline ranked Kellog’s EVP and CIO King Pouw the fourth highest paid CIO in the country (Pouw, who retired over the summer, made almost $3 million in 2003).
  • And Kellogg’s has been cited for an innovative use of computer driven Instant Messaging.

So, reading between the lines, I would say that Gutierrez understands the role IT plays in business. What we’ll find out is whether or not he understands the role IT plays in the economy and our society.