by Thomas Wailgum

What It’s Like To….Live In A Two-CIO Family

Dec 15, 20043 mins

Lars Rabbe is CIO of Yahoo; Cecilia Claudio is CIO of Align Technology. They've been married 21 years. Claudio recently returned to the states after a 13-month stint as CIO of Zurich Financial Services in Switzerland.

CIO: It must have been difficult when Cecilia was in Switzerland. How did you manage the distance?

Cecilia Claudio: While I was in Europe, we saw each other maybe every two to three months. We pulled it off because we have a very strong friendship, strong partnership. And we support each other’s careers very much as well.

Lars Rabbe: It helps that we don’t have kids. I don’t think we could have pulled this off if we had kids. It’s been careers for a long time now.

You’re like the “first couple” of CIOs, wouldn’t you say?

Rabbe: That’s very courtly of you. We never intended this. We both just happen to be successful in our careers, and we’re both focused on IT.

Did you meet at an IT conference?

Claudio: No, it was in Italy. He was my customer. I was program director for a project that my company, Olivetti, was doing for the Danish Savings Banks, and Lars was the program director for the customer side at the bank.

CIOs often say that no one understands them, but you both know a lot about each other’s jobs. Does that help you at the end of the day?


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Claudio: We don’t want to talk about work at the end of the day.

Rabbe: But we do. It’s more about comparing notes on technologies and efficiencies. The basic discipline of being a CIO is the same; but we basically do it our own way.

You’re both certain not to run afoul of any nondisclosure agreements?

Claudio: Believe me, there’s no pillow talk whatsoever about anything that’s confidential within our companies. We’re both very aware of those things.

In my house, I tell my wife I’m the CIO because I’m in charge of the computers and the Internet connection. Who’s the CIO in your household?

Claudio: Lars.

Rabbe: She’s the CEO.

Claudio: And I have a great CIO.

How many computers do you have in your house?

Rabbe: At any given point, there’s probably two or three powered up.

Claudio: We probably have a total of five. We still have an old NeXT machine that we keep around, a couple of desktops and some laptops. Some Treo BlackBerrys too.

Do you ever argue over IT?

Rabbe: No, we don’t argue; we compare notes. Before you called, we were talking about the latest in voice over IP and video over IP, and what we’re doing with that. We’re looking at the same vendor right now.

Claudio: Yeah, I’m having it installed, so now Lars is also thinking…

Lars: …I gotta have it.

Claudio: He’s gotta have it. He couldn’t let me have something before he gets it. We’re both very competitive.

-Interview by Thomas Wailgum