by Martha Heller

A private equity CIO story — and more CIO moves to report

May 09, 20095 mins

I’ve received so much reader interest in my May column in CIO magazine about CIOs who join private equity firms, that I thought I’d summarize a recent conversation I had with Khaled Haram, a Mover & Shaker, who is formerly the CIO of Handleman Company, an entertainment distribution company. After serving as Handleman’s CIO for two years, and then as CFO for six months, Khaled set his sights on a role with a private equity firm and got the word out to his networks. “Former business partners from IBM and other technology firms put me in touch with people at several private equity firms, and after looking for the right fit, I decided to work with Pegasus Capital Advisors,” says Khaled. Khaled was attracted to Pegasus’s hands on operational approach to its portfolio companies and joined the firm as operating advisor last July.

Khaled is responsible for identifying investment opportunities and performing due diligence prior to the acquisition and then – where needed – helping to put processes to manage cash flow, inventory control, supply chain and IT contracts after the acquisition.  His advice to CIOs seeking a similar role: “Because CIOs tend to bring more operational experience than investment experience, you need to find a firm whose philosophy focuses on adding operational capital to its investments.  If the firm privileges investment expertise over operational expertise, you will be a ‘nice to have’,” he says.

However, if it is precisely the investment activity that is exciting to you, then choose a firm that invests primarily in technology companies. “Technology focused private equity firms would appreciate the investment knowledge that a CIO brings to the table,” Khaled says. “If Pegasus didn’t focus on operational capital, I would have been more attracted to a firm that focuses on investing in technology companies instead.”

Rick Bellamy is a recent addition to our growing list of CIOs turned CEOs. Bellamy joined RPI, a consumer print-on-demand services company, as CIO in 2008 and last month was named CEO.

Shire plc , a global specialty biopharmaceutical company, announced that Anne Wilms has been appointed CIO. Based in Shire’s Pennsylvania, office, Wilms will oversee the global strategy and implementation of Shire’s IT  services across the organization to help enable the company to deliver on its business goals.Wilms has more than 25 years of experience serving in a variety of senior IT roles across a number of industries. She joins Shire from Rohm & Haas, a leading global chemicals company, where she served as CIO for nearly ten years and was responsible for the IT function, globally. Prior to joining Rohm & Haas, Wilms successfully led major systems implementations at several international organizations including Sonat Inc. and Oracle Corporation.

In yet another entry in the “what exactly IS a CTO?” category, Randy Spratt, CIO of McKesson Corporation has been promoted to the newly-created position of CTO, while retaining his responsibilities as the company’s CIO. As CTO, Spratt will guide the overall technology direction for the company’s healthcare technology products, and provide support and guidance for application development processes companywide. 

Titanium Holdings, the parent company of Titanium Solutions,  a loss mitigation solutions provider,  has selected Steve Campbell as CIO.  Campbell will oversee all technology functions for Titanium Holdings and its business units, in addition to managing technology infrastructure planning and deployment. Prior to joining the company, Campbell was CIO of LendingTree.

Women’s retailer Talbots has named John Kovac as CIO.  As Talbot’s first CIO, Kovac will oversee the company’s IT initiatives and will report to Michael Scarpa, COO and CFO of the company. With more than 15 years of expertise in IT and supply chain operations, Kovac joins Talbots from Liz Claiborne, where he held various leadership roles including interim chief information officer, vice president of systems and operations, and vice president of information technology.

Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. (MMC) hired William Krivoshik as CIO, In this newly created role, Krivoshik will report directly to MMC President and CEO Brian Duperreault and will lead the development of MMC’s overarching technology strategy and architecture.  Krivoshik was most recently CTO at Thomson Financial, where he oversaw the company’s technology and information operations globally.

Jim Stalder has joined The Beryl Companies, a firm that provides outsourced call center services to the healthcare market,  as its new CIO.  Stalder brings more than 20 years of technology experience to his new role. Previously, he was the CIO at Mercy Health Services, a $500 million healthcare provider in Baltimore, for six years.

Pieter Schoehuijs is making the not so well tread move from New Jersey to Amsterdam.  He is leaving his role as CIO of consumer products company Church & Dwight for the CIO role at AkzoNobel, the $19B chemicals/CPG company headquartered in Amsterdam.

Budco, a fulfillment and direct marketing company, announced at Daryl Minor has joined the company as CIO.  Minor brings to the company over 25 years experience in a variety of IT related areas and has been in leadership positions at companies including Johnson Controls, Visteon Corporation and Champion Enterprises.

And finally, in federal news, Roger Baker, President Barack Obama’s nominee for assistant secretary of veterans affairs for information and technology and chief information officer, will, if confirmed by the Senate, be the first veterans affairs CIO to preside over a consolidated IT development and acquisitions organization.

Baker will succeed Bob Howard, who served from September 2006 until he resigned in mid-January 2009. Baker previously served as CIO of the Commerce Department from 1998 to 2001.

Thanks so much for all of the news. Until next week…

Martha Heller

Managing Director, IT Leadership Practice

ZRG Partners