by Tom Field

JoAnn Ryan Goes from CIO to CEO

Jun 01, 20013 mins

ConEdison Solutions CIO Named CEO

It’s the promotion most CIOs dream of.

JoAnn Ryan, former vice president for IT and operations at ConEdison Solutions, was recently named CEO of the White Plains, N.Y., energy services company affiliated with ConEdison, the state’s largest utility.

For Ryan, who started at ConEdison 22 years ago as a computer analyst, this promotion is not just a vote of confidence in her, but in the value of IT as a driving force in her changing industry as well. “The board [of directors] recognizes the importance of information technology in this arm of the business,” Ryan says. “I understand the value of IT and how we can apply it in all aspects of business. That puts me in a very good position.”

After joining ConEdison in 1979, Ryan spent 12 years in the IT organization, then moved to the business side, where one of her most significant assignments was as general manager of customer service for the borough of Brooklyn, N.Y. This position gave Ryan her first opportunity to bring IT to bear in improving customer service.

Later, when she rejoined IT and became CIO of the solutions business, Ryan worked in-house and with partners to develop a series of systems that has completely changed the ConEdison customer experience. These systems allow the company to analyze energy usage, forecast trends and help customers (particularly commercial businesses) create energy usage plans. Increasingly, these systems are Web-based, allowing customers to use the information tools by themselves, at their convenience.

To Ryan’s mind, these systems are a significant competitive differentiator for ConEdison Solutions. “With deregulation, the energy business is driven by information,” she says. “These systems tie us in with customers as their energy expert. And the result is shared savings.”

As CEO, Ryan now oversees 90 full-time employees, including 20 in IT. Beyond the typical challenges of growing revenue and increasing margins, she is also responsible for keeping pace with the business changes wrought by deregulation. “This [industry] is evolving under our feet,” she says.

Player’s Guide

Tony Banas Ilios Partners

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Gary Bakker NuEdge Systems

This Milwaukee-based provider of marketing automation systems has its first-ever CTO in Bakker. He directs the company’s product development and technology strategy.

Cynthia B. Hamburger Dun & Bradstreet

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Robert Andrews Sentire

Andrews has been promoted from webmaster to CTO of the Renton, Wash.-based provider of Internet performance optimization services. In this new role, he will provide technology vision for Sentire’s patent-pending services.