by Diann Daniel

American Red Cross Interim CIO Now Permanent CIO

Apr 08, 20082 mins
IT Leadership

The American Red Cross announced Tuesday that it has selected Mark Weischedel as the new senior vice president and CIO of the American Red Cross.

Weischedel has been interim SVP and CIO for the past 10 months and says his official appointment into the role will allow him to focus on the American Red Cross IT roadmap.

News on Weischedel comes as the American Red Cross tries to turn the corner on a tumultuous period. Also yesterday the American Red Cross announced its selection of Gail J. McGovern as its new CEO. McGovern is a Harvard Business School professor and former AT&T executive McGovern’s appointment comes about four months after the previous CEO, Mark W. Everson, resigned after the organization’s board learned he had a personal relationship with a subordinate employee. Everson’s tenure lasted six months.

The emotional ramifications of the announcement are also crucial. “Our organization has been through lots of change and changing leadership at nearly all levels. [My CIO appointment] reflects some much-needed stability,” he says.

The aforementioned roadmap reflects priorities Weischedel will work on such as replacing the company’s monolithic legacy infrastructure with a more agile modern one, retiring or replacing about 100 applications (amounting to about half of the current amount), hiring new IT employees to replace many empty positions, and strengthening IT governance.

Weischedel thinks IT governance is especially crucial to the a healthier Red Cross. During his time as interim CIO, he met with many local chapters of the Red Cross to discover their technology needs and challenges. These local chapters can be anything from one paid staff person with no dedicated IT folks in a rural area to metropolitan areas, which will have many more paid employees and tech-savvy worker. “We’re looking for the optimal application suite for chapters of all sizes.”

For that, he is looking for local Red Cross members input and help.

And to strike the right balance in meeting local chapters’ needs and getting ROI, Weischedel expects IT governance to be core. “We can’t do everything at once; we need the right sequence and development plan that will meet the needs of the greatest number of users.”

Asked about the new CEO’s appointment and what that will mean for IT, Weischedel says, “It’s too soon to tell.”