by Meridith Levinson

Former Wal-Mart CIO to Head Microsoft?

Jun 16, 20063 mins

I almost fell off my chair when I read this article on  It’s an opinion piece by Business 2.0 online editor Owen Thomas, who predicts–on the heels of Bill Gates’ announcement that he’ll be handing over his chief software architect responsibilities over the next two years–that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will also be exiting stage left in two to five years.  Thomas is clearly no fan of Ballmer.  But what struck me was Thomas’s prediction that Kevin Turner–former Wal-Mart CIO turned CEO of Sam’s Club turned MS COO–is the likely heir to Ballmer’s post. Wow.  Could it be that the former CIO of Wal-Mart goes on to inhabit the role once held by Bill Gates?  That’s huge.  Read the piece for details, and tell me what you think of Thomas’s prediction. 

On Wednesday, June 14, the Rocky Mountain News reported that First Data CIO Guy Battista will leave the payment solutions provider upon First Data’s spinoff of Western Union, scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2006. Battista, 57, will then become an EVP at Western Union.

Patricia Higgins was re-elected to Barnes & Noble’s board of directors on June 8.  She previously served on the company’s board from 1999 to 2004. Higgins has served as the CEO of Switch and Data Facilities; chairman and CEO of The Research Board; CIO of Alcoa; a business unit and corporate vice president at Unisys; and as a corporate officer at Verizon. She currently also serves on the board of Delta Airlines, Visteon and Internap.

Allen J. Gula joined Greater Bay Bancorp of East Palo Alto, Calif. as its EVP and CIO.  Gula reports to the president and CEO of the financial services holding company, Byron Scordelis

PFF Bancorp SVP and CIO Robert Golish was promoted to EVP and chief administrative officer. His promotion comes amidst other executive changes inside the Pomona, Calif.-based financial services company.  Golish will remain CIO and will assume the additional responsibilities of general counsel when the current general counsel, Gilbert Smith, retires on July 7. Golish has worked for PFF since 1982 and has held the CIO post for 12 years, after having served as the company’s senior counsel. 

It appears the IRS will be looking for another CIO to take charge of its beleaguered modernization effort.  On June 13, the IRS announced that its CIO Todd Grams was leaving to join the National Institute of Standards and Technology as its CFO. Grams joined the IRS in February 2001 as Chief Financial Officer following more than two decades of work at the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Office of Management and Budget. In June 2003, IRS Commissioner Mark Everson tapped Grams for the CIO position, which oversees a staff of about 7,000 people and a budget of $1.8 billion.