by Kim S. Nash

Meet the Millionaire CIOs

Jun 27, 200813 mins

CIOs rank among top paid execs at 47 Fortune 1000 companiesn

We in technology have gotten pretty good at assessing the financial value of projects, but not so much at figuring out what a CIO is worth. Or, if not worth, at least what to pay him. Or her.

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Unlike a CEO, whose compensation rides mainly on measures of the company’s financial performance, a typical CIO takes home a pay package less dependent on metrics such as share price or return on equity. Generally, it’s a mix of base salary and, for hitting soft and hard goals, bonuses. Sometimes there are shares of stock.

That’s most CIOs. Then there are the heavy hitters, the CIO elite who set corporate strategy alongside the CEO, CFO and other top execs—and get paid like them.

Half or more of the total pay for these CIOs is tied to long-term incentive plans, involving measures of the company’s performance over time, says Vincent Milich, director of IT effectiveness at Hay Group, a consulting firm. “By hewing to performance measures that are long-term and linked with business success, IT leaders align themselves with the CEO and the enterprise, and change the impression that they’re a cost center and staff job,” he says.

With so much at stake, these high-powered CIOs know that to be successful, they need trustworthy people in key positions, says Victor Janulaitis, principal at the compensation consulting firm Janco. CIOs at this level commonly bring an entourage of two or three managers with them who “understand what they say, how they say it and what they mean.” (See “The CIO’s Dream Team.”)

So who are this year’s top-tier technology leaders and what do they make? Every year, public companies must file proxy statements with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to show what their top five highest-paid executives earn in salary, bonuses, perks and incentive pay such as stock and options awards. We studied the filings of the 1,000 biggest U.S. companies to see what compensation looks like for CIOs ranked and rewarded highly enough at their companies to be included. Not many make the cut. This year, 47 top technology executives were listed at the 1,000 companies. That’s down slightly from last year’s 52, but about the same overall count since 2001.

Clearly, these companies—especially in financial services, manufacturing and retail—value their technology leaders. According to the latest SEC filings, which show 2007 compensation, our 47 superstars together earned $112,651,463. That’s down 18 percent from the $137 million earned for 2006. Still, at $435,200, the average salary (excluding bonuses and other compensation) for this group far outpaces average salaries for CIOs generally. In our latest “State of the CIO” survey, CIOs at companies of $1 billion or more in revenue reported an average salary of $344,400.

Demand has declined for CIOs as their average tenure increases. And in this poor economy, companies are reluctant to assume the risk of replacing their top technology leaders, Janulaitis says. “Organizations are in a holding pattern in IT right now,” he says.

Most of the fat payouts in 2007—77 percent—came not from salaries or bonuses but from the innocuous sounding “Other” category.

Other, indeed. That could include anything from company contributions to a CIO’s 401(k) to thousands of dollars’ worth of time on the corporate jet to millions in long-term incentive payouts. No. 1-ranked Barbara Desoer received $10.5 million in total compensation as global technology and operations executive at Bank of America, with $9.7 million of it coming from such sources. The two biggest chunks: $4.7 million in stock and $2.2 million in options. Incidentals included $15,500 worth of corporate plane use and $16,700 for financial counseling on how to manage her millions.

In May, Desoer received more recognition: a promotion to president of consumer mortgage operations for the merged Bank of America and Countrywide Financial when that acquisition closes later this year. She’s moving from North Carolina to California.

In the Money

Who Made What: Some of the Top-Paid Fortune 1000 CIOs of 2007

Technology Executive Company / Industry Total 2007 Compensation* Salary

1. Barbara Desoer

Global Technology & Operations Executive

Bank of America

Financial Services
$10,532,513 $800,000

2. Glen Salow

EVP Technology & Operations

Ameriprise Financial

Financial Services
$7,029,188 $709,6780

3. Robert Carter



$5,461,269 $510,000

4. Tim Shack


PNC Financial Services Group

Financial Services
$4,896,181 $475,000

5. Mark Boxer

President & CEO Operations, Technology, Government Services Business Unit, EVP


Health Care
$4,878,008 $693,654

6. Bob Willett

CEO Best Buy International, CIO

Best Buy

$4,677,735 $685,577

7. Dave Kepler

EVP, Chief Sustainability Officer, CIO & Corporate Director of Shared Services

Dow Chemical

$4,672,827 $562,310

8. Randy Darcy

EVP Worldwide Operations & Technology, CTO

General Mills

$4,449,958 $500,000

9. Bob DeRodes



$4,296,143 $774,788

10. Larry Kittelberger

SVP Technology & Operations

Honeywell International

$4,075,648 $606,250

SOURCE: Company proxy statements and 10-K filings. *Includes bonus, stock, options, incentive pay, pension contributions and other compensation

You Gotta Have Friends

The only other CIO to break the $10 million mark since 2000 was Randy Mott of Hewlett-Packard in 2005. A stock award of $7.1 million that year, when he quit Dell for HP, drove his compensation up.

Ten million dollars is “rarefied air,” says Chris Patrick, a partner in the global leader CIO practice at recruiting firm Egon Zehnder. So what does it take to operate in such an atmosphere?

Just ask Glen Salow. The executive vice president of service delivery and technology at Ameriprise didn’t get to No. 2 on the list, with a $7 million pay package, without learning along the way what makes a high-powered CIO. Mostly, he says, it’s the people around the CIO.

Salow surrounds himself with colleagues who voice diverse perspectives, and he holds on to those with whom he works well, including an intellectual property attorney and a number of communications professionals at both the corporate level and within the technology group.

A Snapshot in Time

Caveat: Those on our list are not necessarily the highest-paid CIOs in the U.S. for the past year. There may be other CIOs who took home multiple millions. But we don’t know who they are because other officers at their company had bigger pay packages and the SEC requires that compensation be revealed for only the top five.

Ralph Szygenda, CIO at General Motors, for example, is someone recruiters regard as a top CIO, but he did not make our list; the lowest-paid of GM’s top five officers last year was Thomas Stephens, who, for leading global powertrain and quality, got $4.9 million. Maybe Szygenda made $4.8 million. GM declines to comment.

And, of course, there may be CIOs raking it in at private companies, which keep their financial data, including compensation, secret.

For those reasons, we can’t draw statistical comparisons year over year from this compensation data. Rather, the list is a snapshot—a revealing one, to be sure—of one measure of the CIO.

Our No. 1

Bank of America’s Desoer typifies several aspects of the technology elite. Financial services firms are built on IT and traditionally pay their IT leaders well. Hence, financial firms dominate the list, with 15 included. Also, like 20 others on the list, Desoer is more than a CIO. She manages the bank’s several CIOs, oversees operations and sits on its management operating committee, among other duties.

Wearing two and three hats can be a fruitful, if exhausting, career path for CIOs. Desoer has been at the bank for three decades and led marketing and then consumer products before taking on technology and operations in 2005. That’s a diverse background for a CIO, but one that reflects a hunger for well-rounded technologists who understand how their companies make money and know what customers want, even before they want it.

For example, Desoer oversees Bank of America’s bill payment program, which accounts for 25 percent of all payment transactions in the U.S., the bank says. That’s a heck of a lot more strategic than managing an application rollout. Last year, the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, named her “Business Leader of the Year.”

Who’s Your Buddy?

Any CIO expecting to rise high must find common ground with the CEO, says Egon Zehnder’s Patrick. “Make his or her goals your goals,” he says.

As Ameriprise’s Salow puts it, “Any CIO who doesn’t say the No. 1 person they need to have a great relationship with is the CEO is kidding himself.”

CEOs think so, too, according to Bob Badavas, president and CEO of staffing firm TAC Worldwide, a private company. The best CIOs aren’t assessed by how infrequently servers fail or whether employees can get e-mail on the road. Those IT operations items are assumed, just like similar basics by the CFO, Badavas said, speaking at the CIO Leadership conference in May. “CIOs must move beyond the plumbing,” he said. “CIOs are paid to take a full seat at the strategic planning table.”

Steve Morin, TAC’s VP and CIO, declined to discuss what he gets paid.

Female Power

In addition to her accomplishments, Desoer at Bank of America is notable for her chromosomes. She’s one of nine women on this year’s list—the highest number of female tech execs who’ve made it since we started doing this research. A woman topped the list once before. In 2000, Leslie Tortora of Goldman Sachs was No. 1, with $9.5 million.

Although the number of females in IT leadership positions has declined from 15 percent in 2004 to 12 percent last year, according to recruiting firm Sheila Greco Associates, the number of female CIOs is up from 7 percent in 2000 to 9 percent last year.

The nine in our ranking collectively pulled in more than $23 million in 2007 and come from a variety of industries: financial services, manufacturing, utilities and retail. They are high earners, too. Average compensation for the women on the list is $2.6 million, compared with just under $2.4 million for all the men and women ranked. Anna Ewing at Nasdaq (No. 18, $2.2 million) has been at the stock exchange for eight years and before that held executive IT positions at CIBC and Merrill Lynch. Mahvash Yazdi (No. 27, $1.4 million) has been at Edison International for 11 years and led the company’s integration of Southern California Edison. She also sits on the board of directors of Apria HealthCare.

What Glass Ceiling?

Women factored well among the highest paid Fortune 1000 CIOs in 2007

Technology Executive Company / Industry Total 2007 Compensation* Rank

Barbara Desoer

Global Technology & Operations Executive

Bank of America

Financial Services
$10,532,513 1

Linda Goodspeed

EVP of IT & Business Development

Lennox International

$2,968,830 13

Jana Schreuder

President, Worldwide Operations & Technology

Northern Trust

Financial Services
$2,473,176 16

Anna Ewing

EVP Global Software Development & CIO

Nasdaq OMX Group

Financial Services
$2,201,253 18

Mahvash Yazdi

SVP, Business Integration & CIO

Edison International

$1,422,326 27

Lisa Bachmann

SVP Merchandise Planning/Allocation, CIO

Big Lots

$1,333,129 32

Jeanne Moreno



$1,227,819 35

Cara Kinzey



$775,528 41

Laurie Douglas


Publix Super Markets

$555,793 46

SOURCE: Company proxy statements and 10-K filings. *Includes bonus, stock, options, incentive pay, pension contributions and other compensation. Ranking based on top 47 CIOs. Download a pdf of the full chart here.


Some nice perquisites were bestowed on this year’s group. Robert Carter of FedEx (No. 3, with $5.5 million in total compensation) got $103,069 worth of personal use of a company plane and financial planning services, among other items. Randy Darcy of General Mills (No. 8, $4.4 million) got $14,341 toward a car allowance and $9,457 to cover flights and food for his spouse at business events. Dudley Sondeno of Southwest Gas (No. 38, $910,312) received $1,865 for club dues, $480 for cable Internet service and $240 for a cell phone. Honeywell’s Larry Kittelberger (No. 10, $4.1 million), who has made this list for several years, got $50,000 under the company’s “cash flexible perquisite program.”

When you make the big bucks, you want to keep it safe. So home security services and equipment have become pretty common over the years. This year, Dave Kepler at Dow Chemical (No. 7, $4.7 million) received such a benefit, as did Bill Chenevich of US Bancorp (No. 12, $3.4 million), Desoer at Bank of America and Carter at FedEx, among others.


Just 12 of the 47 got cash bonuses, reflecting that penny-pinching (in this case, thousand-dollar-bill-pinching) is going on in corporate America. In past years, all but a handful of CIOs on this list received bonuses. Still, the dozen tech execs who got bonuses together received $5.3 million and Joe Smialowski, who left mortgage company Freddie Mac last December, got the highest bonus: $1.4 million. He’s No. 14 on the list, with $2.8 million in total compensation. These bonuses are typically tied to short-term goals, such as the company boosting product sales by a specific percentage, says Hay Group’s Milich.


Some stars fell off the list. A few CIOs didn’t appear this year because other officers at their companies made more money than they did. At Sears, CIO Karen Austin, who made $1.6 million in 2006, is no longer among the retailer’s five highest-paid officers. Her compensation was so large that year because of a long-term incentive payout of just under $1 million for hitting three years of goals. This time around, Austin wasn’t eligible for such a payday and was edged out by a new head of customer strategy ($1.2 million) and a new CFO ($433,920). Longtime top-paid CIO Harvey DeMovick Jr., who made $4.7 million in 2006, was reported in Coventry Health Care’s proxy statement to have been replaced by a new corporate general counsel ($2.7 million). These kinds of shifts happen every year, and DeMovick and Austin could easily return on next year’s list.

Riding into the Sunset

Several CIO stalwarts among the current group of high earners retired recently. Unless they change their minds about hitting sandy beaches or the golf links, they likely won’t appear on next year’s list. High-profile retirees include Amazon’s Rick Dalzell, Northwest Airlines’ Philip Haan, and J.W. Ripley at Corn Products International (No. 25, $1.7 million). Home Depot‘s Bob DeRodes (No. 9, $4.3 million) has announced he’ll leave the retailer at the end of 2008, but has yet to reveal his plans.

The Financial Advantage

There were more CIOs from the Financial Services industry on our list than any other industry.

Technology Executive Company Total 2007 Compensation* Rank

Barbara Desoer

Global Technology & Operations Executive

Bank of America

$10,532,513 1

Glen Salow

EVP Technology & Operations

Ameriprise Financial

$7,029,188 2

Tim Shack


PNC Financial Services Group

$4,896,181 4

Robert Golden

EVP Operations & Systems

Prudential Financial

$3,514,082 11

Bill Chenevich

Vice Chairman Technology & Operations Services

US Bancorp

$3,446,061 12

Joseph Smialowski

EVPof Operations & Technology

Freddie Mac

$2,770,674 14

Jana Schreuder

President, Worldwide Operations & Technology

Northern Trust

$2,473,176 16

Byron Vielehr


Dun & Bradstreet

$2,285,378 17

Anna Ewing

EVP Global Software Development & CIO

Nasdaq OMX Group

$2,201,253 18

Thomas Frank



$1,672,821 24

Rob Autor


Interactive Brokers Group

$1,358,179 30

Greg Tranter


Hanover Insurance Group

$1,228,235 34

Raymond Voekler



$1,028,360 39

Dan Canzano



$599,059 45

SOURCE: Company proxy statements and 10-K filings. *Includes bonus, stock, options, incentive pay, pension contributions and other compensation. Ranking based on top 47 CIOs. Download a pdf of the full chart here.