by Meridith Levinson

Gossip, gossip, gossip!

Oct 14, 20055 mins

Today I’m channeling Joan Rivers (pictured at right) and beginning the blog with gossip: In July, I reported that Jeff Balagna, then Medtronic’s CIO, was joining Carlson Companies. And last week I reported that William McGarry, former VP of enterprise applications at Medtronic, joined St. Jude Medical.   Well, a friendly and informed reader told me that McGarry had been the number two IT guy at Medtronic, and that McGarry apparently was none too pleased when he found out that Medtronic wasn’t going to move him into Balagna’s old position (and who can blame him?). 

Evidently, Medtronic’s snub is the reason McGarry left for St. Jude’s.  So kudos to McGarry for getting the CIO post he wanted. I wonder if Medtronic is annoyed about losing a key employee?  Any of you friendly readers know?       

This bit of news from New Zealand ought to put smiles on the faces of those readers who aspire to be CEO someday: Rob Fyfe, who joined Air New Zealand as CIO in 2003, was named the airline’s new chief executive.  He beat out a host of internal and external candidates for the coveted position.  Fyfe, 44, most recently served as group general manager of airlines.  John Palmer, Air New Zealand’s chairman, said in a press release that Fyfe was “appointed on merit after an extensive and rigorous selection process, which attracted high quality overseas candidates through to the final stage.”  

Trent E. Taylor was promoted from senior vice president and CIO (a position he’s held since 2002) to executive vice president and chief information officer of Walgreens.  Taylor has worked for the company since 1992, when he started as manager of information systems after working as a consultant with Ernst & Young in Chicago.  Three years later, he was promoted to director of infrastructure and architecture.  In 1999, he made the jump to divisional VP and CIO and a year later he was named corporate VP and CIO.  David Bernauer, Walgreen’s CEO who once served as the drugstore chain’s CIO, had these kind words to share about Taylor: “Whenever I consider the technological power we pack into our stores today, I’m grateful for the intelligence, creativity and calm manner Trent brings to Walgreens. He’s built a talented staff that keeps our technology ranked among the very top retailers in the country.”

Richard Yanke, whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting at a few of CIO’s conferences, recently accepted the SVP and CIO post at the Seacoast Banking Corporation of Florida and at its subsidiary, the First National Bank & Trust Co. in Stuart, Fla.  He most recently served as the director of information security for Sky Bank in Bowling Green, Ohio and previously as the CIO for Three Rivers Bancorp in Pittsburgh, Pa. 

Two Northrop Grumman IT employees received National Women of Color in Technology awardsDiane P. Murray (pictured at left), CIO of the defense contractor’s Mission Systems sector in Reston, Va., and Karen Evans (pictured at right), systems engineer manager for Northrop Grumman’s Electronic Systems sector, were honored for their managerial leadership and personal achievements.  Murray received the Managerial Leadership Award for her role as a business partner in the development of sector plans, as well as in company-wide initiatives that identify and promote IT-enabled new business opportunities for process improvement and cost reductions.  Evans was awarded the Professional Achievement Award. She has worked for Northrop Grumman for 20 years and is considered an expert in the field of ballistics and smart submunitions. Her work contributions include serving as the engineering manager and technical lead for the development of Active Protection Systems for the U.S. Army.

Keith Bearden, the one-time CIO of dental equipment manufacturer A-dec, was chosen to lead Virtual Information Executives LLC, an IT services company based in Nike country–Beaverton, Ore.  Bearden used to work for a similar firm, Tatum Partners, as a CIO partner.  In addition to A-dec, Bearden has held top IT and management positions with Sequent Computer Systems, Dow Chemical Company and Sysco.  Bearden holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Austin Peay State University and is a Certified Information Systems Auditor.

Max Rayner was hired as CIO and executive vice president of service delivery at Internet security provider SurfControl. Rayner joins the Scotts Valley, Calif.-based company from, where he was responsible for the architecture and service delivery of the company’s on-demand service to more than 16,900 organizations and 308,000 subscribers.  Prior to, Rayner directed Sun Microsystems’ global datacenters and infrastructure, internet engineering and e-commerce application delivery.

James A. Tilley, a former CIO at Morgan Stanley, was named to DFA Capital Management’s insurance industry advisory board.  Tilley worked for Morgan Stanley from July 1983 through March 2001.  Since then, he has served as an Advisory Director in its IT Department.  He held various management roles while at Morgan Stanley, including managing director and CIO of the Institutional Securities Division and global head of Fixed Income Research.  Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Tilley served in both managerial and actuarial roles at Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States, now part of AXA, and at John Hancock Mutual Life and Sun Life of Canada.