Faas Brings Black Belt Experience to New Job
Don’t mess with Steven Faas. The new vice president and CIO of ITT Industries has a black belt?a Six Sigma black belt, that is.
The mother of all quality initiatives, Six Sigma aims to make business processes?everything from manufacturing to billing?run as smoothly, efficiently and error-free as possible. The practice, which began at Motorola, took the business world by storm in the 1990s when General Electric’s Jack Welch proclaimed it a top corporate priority.
Faas endured the rigors of Six Sigma under GE’s tutelage. He served as CIO of the energy products division of GE’s Power Systems business until last May. To earn his Six Sigma black belt certification at GE, Faas had to complete training, serve in a dedicated, full-time Six Sigma role for 18 months, execute a special project, mentor green belts, and pass a multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, open-book test. The test included questions about the best ways to execute a Six Sigma project and required statistical calculations.
While at GE, Faas says, he worked on hundreds of Six Sigma projects. “We used Six Sigma on virtually any deployment of new software,” he says. “Prior to deploying new software, we used Six Sigma to define and baseline our existing processes [that the software was going to automate or facilitate], analyze the defects in our existing processes, make improvements to the processes through the new software solutions and rigorously test it to ensure that it was bulletproof.”
Now 40, Faas is bringing his Six Sigma experience to ITT, which he joined in June and where his top priorities include standardizing and centralizing the company’s IT infrastructure. ITT has been running its own flavor of Six Sigma, which emphasizes projects that add value to the bottom line, since 2000. “By having a common infrastructure, we can better deploy value-based Six Sigma because a common infrastructure will help us leverage best practices across the organization,” says Faas.
David Anderson, senior vice president and CFO of ITT and Faas’s boss, says his new CIO’s experience with Six Sigma is an important asset for the company. “Having someone who is versed in continuous improvement and whose knowledge set is on the front line, measuring results and working with a team, is very important. He brings a terrific set of qualities to the table,” says Anderson.
News of Other Moves
Maynard Webb, president of eBay Technologies, adds the title of COO to his business card. Webb continues to report to Meg Whitman, eBay’s president and CEO, and continues to lead the company’s technology, customer support and product development divisions.
Geir Ramleth has rejoined Bechtel as CIO for the San Francisco-based engineering and construction company. He previously served as manager of commercial systems in Bechtel’s controller organization.
Joseph P. Kovach joins Advanced Energy Industries, a developer of components for the technology industry, as vice president and CIO. He comes to his new post from Interlink Group, where he was COO.
William L. Avery, CIO of the Life Fitness division of Brunswick, a Lake Forest, Ill.-based manufacturer of boats and boating equipment, has been named CIO of the company.
Thomas A. Hull joins Welch Allyn as vice president and CIO. Hull brings more than 18 years of business and IT experience to the Skaneateles Falls, N.Y.-based medical equipment manufacturer. Most recently, Hull worked at IBM.