General Electric has long been known as
an incubator of IT talent. Among the CIOs that the $163
billion company has groomed are Joe Eckroth (now executive
VP at New Century Financial), Kathy Lane (now CIO of
National Grid) and Mitchell Habib (now executive VP of
global business services at Nielsen.) However, GE has
historically been a difficult target for headhunters.
That’s changed, says Gerry McNamara, a partner with
executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles. “Now
they’re willing to take our calls, and we’ve placed
two [execs from GE],” he says.
Recruiters used to bump up against the generous compensation
that GE employees received during the company’s heyday
under Jack Welch, McNamara says, but since GE has fallen on
tougher times, “that wealth-building opportunity is not
there any longer.” Also, he says, as GE has skinnied
down, fewer jobs exist inside the vast conglomerate. Finally,
as long as Gary Reiner remains in his position as corporate
senior VP and CIO, which he’s held since 1996, that slot
is out of play. So GE’s IT stars are listening to
recruiters’ pitches, and that’s good news for CIOs
searching for talent.
A few GE IT executives have recently moved on:
Charles Cautley left his post as CIO of GE Capital to join
gaming technology company GTech as its senior VP and CTO in
Dave Schoenholz went to work for ING U.S. Financial
Services’ CIO Steve Van Wyk, as the insurance
company’s head of infrastructure services. Schoenholz
spent 12 years with GE, most recently as its global leader of
infrastructure operations for its infrastructure shared
Lisa Hoffman joined Centex Homes in August 2006 as VP and
CIO, after her stint as director of corporate systems at
GE’s commercial finance division.