For Claude Cargou of AXA Group, David Kepler of Dow Chemical, Dawn Lepore of Charles Schwab and Ralph Szygenda of General Motors, as well as CIO-for-hire Charlie Feld, leadership happens at several levels. All head sizable IT staffs?11,200 at the extreme. All long ago settled into the executive suite; they lead their companies in establishing IT strategy as well as running IT operations. And all aid their fellow executives in understanding how thoroughly IT undermines the old business order as it creates new market prospects. These CIOs know that they can’t leave the evangelizing, cajoling and inspiring to their CEOs. As IT leaders, they are closest to the vision of technological possibility aligned with business opportunity.
The profiles that follow showcase distinct personal styles yet reveal commonalities of leadership. These CIOs value good people over good systems. They consider themselves businesspeople rather than technologists. They are relentless to the point of paranoia in keeping abreast of technological change?not for the latest upgrade or the most powerful hardware but for the most significant change in the way their companies can, and therefore must, use IT. How should CIOs lead? Read on.