by Thomas Wailgum

Career Equation: What You Know + Who You Know = Success

Oct 18, 20072 mins

Former Wal-Mart CIO Randy Mott and his ex-colleagues are a who's who of corporate IT leadershipn

The man whom former Wal-Mart CIO Randy Mott calls his mentor, Bob Martin (Wal-Mart’s CIO from 1984 to 1993), says his protégé is an “exceptionally bright” and “highly competitive” leader. But smarts and ambition aren’t the only ingredients to a successful career. Who you know helps, too.


How Wal-Mart Lost Its Technology Edge

45 Years of IT at Wal-Mart

Managing a Global Company

When Mott joined HP in 2005 (after a stint at Dell), he reunited with an old pal—CEO Mark Hurd. They met when Hurd was selling NCR gear to Mott at Wal-Mart. Mott, meanwhile, claims he has mentored 10 C-level executives across multiple industries within the Fortune 100, some of whom he brought to HP. Here’s a sampling of the IT heavyweights who have a connection to Mott.

Kevin Turner

In 1999, Mott promoted Turner to assistant CIO—a newly created position. When Mott left for Dell, Turner got his job, and later became president of Sam’s Club. In 2005 he became Microsoft’s COO. While Mott received a $2.2 million signing bonus from HP, Turner bested his old boss with a $7 million incentive.

Rick Dalzell

Dalzell, who is retiring this year as CIO of, honed his data warehousing chops at Wal-Mart under Mott. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos plucked Dalzell out of Wal-Mart in 1997. Dalzell went on to create Amazon’s legendary e-commerce engine and its CRM system for analyzing customer and sales data.

Wal-Mart retaliated by suing Amazon (among others) for allegedly stealing Wal-Mart’s trade secrets by pilfering its IT workers. The suit was settled in 1999.

Linda Dillman

The CIO of Wal-Mart from 2002 to 2006 joined the retailer in 1991, when Wal-Mart acquired her company, The Wholesale Club. Mott promoted her to vice president in 1999. Dillman launched Wal-Mart’s controversial RFID initiative.

She was named to Fortune’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” list four years in a row and is now Wal-Mart’s EVP of risk management, benefits and sustainability.

Charlie McMurtry

McMurtry spent his early career alongside Mott at Wal-Mart, working in applications development. He was instrumental in the development of Wal-Mart’s first Supercenter, according to a press release announcing his promotion to vice president in 1999. McMurtry reunited with Mott at HP, where his responsibilities include supply chain and data warehouse systems, databases and product engineering.

Sue Brann

The former “people director” for Mott’s IT division at Wal-Mart, Brann followed Mott to Dell and now HP. In her current role she is head of IT planning, administration and governance.