by Meridith Levinson

Microsoft’s big announcement: It needs two CIOs

Dec 06, 20052 mins


Microsoft is supposedly making some big announcement later today that it has named a former GE CIO, Stuart Scott (pictured at left), corporate vice president and CIO.  The thing is, Scott has been on Bill Gates’ payroll since July, so I’m not quite sure what the big deal is. 


It could be that Scott shares the CIO role with Ron Markezich (pictured at right), Microsoft’s vice president of managed solutions and CIO.  I don’t know of many companies with more than one CIO, so Microsoft’s hiring of another CIO is something of a novelty.  Intel has two CIOs: John Johnson and Stacy Smith. Harley-Davidson (at least back in 2000) employed three individuals who all shared the title of “director of IS/CIO.”  The feeling at the motorcycle manufacturer was that the CIO role was too big for one person to handle, so it meted out responsibility for IT to three people, with one person in charge of  the systems involved with manufacturing, another person responsible for the systems that support sales, marketing and customer service, and the third individual responsible for internal corporate systems like finance and HR.   

Microsoft appointed a co-CIO for Markezich for a similar reason: IT responsibility at the $39 billion company was just too much for one person to handle.  If I’ve interpreted Scott’s and Markezich’s official bios correctly, the division of labor between the two CIOs basically boils down to this: Scott is responsible for business processes and the applications Microsoft uses to run its business while Markezich oversees the company’s IT infrastructure.  Scott reports to COO Kevin Turner; Markezich reports to Rick Devenuti, senior vice president of services and IT.

At CIO, my colleagues and I have long debated whether the CIO role was too big for one person to handle.  What do you think?  Do you wish you could offload certain responsibilities to a counterpart? Use the feedback form to share your thoughts.  Do you know of any other companies with more than one person in the CIO role?  What do you make of the two CIO model at Microsoft and the fact that each CIO reports to someone different? 

Extra thanks to my colleague Ben Worthen, who brought this item to my attention.