by Meridith Levinson

Why Dana Deasy Joined Troubled Tyco

Oct 01, 20034 mins

Deasy Sees Opportunity at Troubled Tyco

After three and a half years of tireless politicking, relationship building and air travel, Dana Deasy felt he had accomplished what he had set out to do. As vice president and corporate CIO of the Americas for Siemens, Deasy had aligned the company’s 15 North American CIOs around a global IT strategy. Now, Deasy felt, he had effectively become the “Maytag repairman of Siemens.” (Read more about his work at Siemens in “The World According to Deasy,”

So when he received a call in May from a recruiter with Russell Reynolds Associates while waiting for yet another flight, Deasy was poised to hear the recruiter’s pitch to become a company’s first-ever global CIO—even though that company was Tyco, the embattled conglomerate whose former executives have been in hot water for allegedly cooking its books. “I had accomplished just about all the goals I had set out to accomplish when I set up the CIO organization at Siemens,” Deasy told CIO just before he joined Tyco in July.

“Tyco presented one of those irresistible opportunities that many CIOs look for,” he adds. “It’s not too often you get to go into a $36 billion company that’s never had a global CIO and get to establish the [CIO] organization from the ground floor up.” Among the reasons why Deasy found Tyco an “irresistible” opportunity:

¿ Personal growth potential. Deasy served as a regional CIO at Siemens. Now he had the chance to join the ranks of global CIOs and extend his authority.

¿ A greenfield. The global CIO position was a new one at Tyco, so Deasy wouldn’t be stepping into someone else’s shoes—inheriting someone else’s baggage, processes or ways of doing things.

¿ A new management team. Deasy was attracted to Tyco’s fresh blood and high energy at the top, including a new CEO and new CFO. Many other execs had been in their positions for less than a year when Deasy joined in July.

¿ Direct line to the CEO. Reporting to Chairman and CEO Ed Breen, Deasy can have a direct impact on shaping the company’s strategic direction and operations at a time when Tyco is trying to reclaim its credibility with shareholders and Wall Street.

¿ Familiar organizational turf. Deasy says he would be able to apply what he learned at Siemens (like building an esprit de corps among a geographically dispersed group of executives) to Tyco because the two global manufacturers share similar decentralized structures.

Deasy’s overarching goal: Help Tyco’s senior management get the company back on track. He plans to do so by creating a unified IT strategy for the company that all the regional and divisional CIOs buy into, by restructuring IT contracts with vendors and by consolidating IT operations where possible to save costs.

Shawn Banerji, the recruiter who tapped Deasy for the global CIO position, says Deasy’s comportment makes him a perfect fit for the new Tyco as does his ability to influence others, which he demonstrated at Siemens and which will come in handy as he tries to unify Tyco’s disparate IT organizations. “He’s authoritative and very credible, but he’s not a snob,” says Banerji of Deasy. “He’s very inclusive. You’ve got to have that at a place like Tyco. His ability to influence others and get their buy-in and mindshare is incredibly important.”

News of other moves

More CIOs are taking operations and administrative posts. Thomas A. Lesica, former CIO at J. Crew and Pepsi-Cola, is now group vice president of global IT and business operations for Avaya. Eric Berg, former Goodyear Tire & Rubber CIO, became NCR’s first chief administration officer. Rudolph Huber, vice president and CIO at Alcoa, in July became vice president of Alcoa Global Business Services and CIO. Peter F. Longo, a certified public accountant and former vice president and CIO for Pratt & Whitney, is CFO of Sikorsky Aircraft. For more job changes, see our updated “Movers & Shakers” column at