by Tom Field

CIO Reporting Structure: Do As I Say&

Mar 01, 20022 mins

Cinda Hallman, former CIO of DuPont, was one of the most successful IT leaders of the 1990s. She orchestrated DuPont’s watershed $4 billion IT outsourcing deal in 1996, became the company’s first-ever female vice president, and subsequently was promoted out of IT to be senior vice president of global systems and processes. Throughout her ascent, Hallman reported directly to the top of DuPont’s org chart.

But last April, when she became CEO of Spherion, a Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based staffing and outsourcing services company, Hallman quickly restructured the company so that her new CIO, Douglas Cormany, reports not to her but to the CFO.

What’s wrong with this picture?

It’s a matter of simplicity, not hypocrisy, Hallman says. “There are so many things I need to accomplish in the transformation of this company that I wanted fewer people reporting directly to me,” she says. “I still talk to Doug on a regular basis,” she adds, “and at some point the reporting structure could change.” But for now, Cormany reports to Spherion CFO Roy Krause.

Cormany, an experienced CIO who reported to his CEOs at Book-of-the-Month Club and NationsRent, had reservations about reporting to a CFO. But so far he hasn’t seen any problems. He does meet with Hallman regularly, he plays a significant role in setting company strategy, and he’s developed a good relationship with Krause.

From Hallman’s perspective, a CIO’s reporting relationship is important?but not as critical as demonstrating real IT value. “If there is value delivered, then the CEO will seek you out and want to talk to you,” she says. “If there is no value, then it doesn’t matter where the CIO reports.”