Yesterday I talked to Eric Sigurdson about the flurry of CIOs who moved into operations positions last week. Sigurdson leads Russell Reynolds’ Information Officers Practice (one of Sigurdson’s colleagues placed Dana Deasy at Tyco.) I asked him to make sense of this trend for me. Here’s an edited version of our conversation:
CIO: What’s behind the four announcements I came across last week about CIOs who had moved into operations positions?
Sigurdson: Top tier
CIOs have always wanted and striven for general management
responsibility. A lot of the top guys want to be presidents, COOs
and CEOs. But only some have the skills to do it.
From a supply and
demand standpoint, it might imply that really outstanding IT execs have
gotten so strong that companies are having to consider promoting them
into bigger roles either to keep them or to entice them into joining
the company. If there’s an excess supply of talent, then
companies don’t have to do promotions, but when there’s a shortage of
talent you see salaries creeping up, titles inflating and
Are these announcements good news for CIOs?
It bodes well for
CIOs. It shows they can get to the next level. That was
always the rub for CIOs: The next step for a successful CIO of a $2
billion company was to become CIO of a $5 billion company, which meant
the CIO had to change companies and change cities, which is a
disruption to their lives. The fact that CIOs can move into
operations helps the candidates and helps companies because they get
tech savvy leaders in influential roles.
Are we going to see more CIOs move into ops?
I don’t think we’re
going to see an excessive amount. It’s not like the gates aren’t
opening and all of a sudden you’ll see hundreds. It’s all
situational. You’ll see a little here, a little there.
Here are some other announcements about CIOs I’ve come across over the past few weeks:
Carey Lowrey left gourmet grocery store chain Balducci’s after a little over a year on the job to join Ultimate Electronics,
a specialty retailer of home entertainment and consumer electronics
products, as its new VP of IT. Prior to Balducci’s, Lowrey held
senior IT management positions with Waldo’s Management Services,
Musicland Group, AutoZone and Boston Market. Lowery earned his
Bachelor of Arts degree in business information systems from the
University of Memphis in 1992.
Corinthian Colleges hired Carmella Cassetta
as its vice president and CIO. Most recently Cassetta was senior
vice president of world wide application development at Ingram
Micro where she led more than 250 software engineers responsible for
application, architecture, development, implementation and
support. She also previously served as CIO/CTO of Printnation and
worked for Barnes & Noble and Waldenbooks in IT leadership
John Kocon is leaving his post as project management officer at Oregon Health and Science University on August 19th. Ten days later he’ll be starting a new job with Rolls-Royce
as its vice president of business process improvement programs.
As such, he’ll be leading a new organization of program managers
responsible for global information technology and business process
Chuck Franz, who had been dividing his time between serving as president of Cook Urological
and coordinating Cook’s global information technology integration
efforts, will return to Cook Group fulltime as vice president and CIO.
Jackson Healthcare Solutions of Alpharetta, Ga. named William Fricke
its new CIO. Fricke previous worked for Infor Global Solutions as an IT
strategist; Internet Security Systems as director of IT applications;
and as an IT consultant to Lockheed Martin, NASA and Frito-Lay.
He holds an executive MBA from Emory University’s Goizueta School of
Business, a master’s degree in computer science and a bachelor’s degree
in electrical engineering from Florida Institute of Technology.
In his spare time, he trains for marathons.