by Martha Heller

Let’s Get our New CIO from the Business

May 29, 2010

Let's Get our New CIO from the Business

Over the last few months I’ve spoken to nearly a dozen CIOs who have no experience in IT.  The story each time is the same: the company had a revolving door of CIOs, and rather than continue the cycle, the CEO would ask a trusted executive from the business to take over the IT organization. These executives have what it takes to run IT. They have a knowledge of the business and its processes, they have won the hearts and minds of the executive committee, and they know how to lead a large organization. There is only one thing they lack: experience with IT.  As an executive recruiter, this is great news for me, as I build a business around a new executive role: the “junior CIO” who can complement the boss’s skills with a knowledge of systems, IT governance, SDLC and the like.

But what does it mean for more CIOs who grew up in IT?  (Discuss.)

Before we get onto recent CIO career moves, I must highly a career move of my own.  A few weeks ago, I carved out the IT Leadership Executive Search practice I built at ZRG Partners and transitioned into my own firm, Heller Search Associates, where my team and I focus exclusively on IT executive search. For those of you who would like to reach out, I’m at

But enough about me! Onto the news.

Advocat announced the appointment of David Houghton as CIO. Houghton joins the nursing facilities company with 20 years of diverse experience in healthcare, technology and consulting.

Pablo Vegas, 37, has been CIO of American Electric Power. He previously served as president and chief operating officer of AEP Texas. Vegas will succeed Velda Otey, who is retiring from the company.

Simon Szykmanis the Department of Commerce. Szykman joins Commerce from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, where he had been CIO for the last three years. Prior to that post, Szykman was director of the National Coordination office for Networking and Information Teichnology Research and Development (NITRD), which manages federal research and development spending on IT under the auspices of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Wayne Shurtsis the new CIO of the Minneapolis-based retailer and distributor SuperValu. Shurts, whose most recent position was global CIO at Cadbury, PLC, is replacing Colin Cobain, who was appointed in June 2009 as Supervalu’s interim CIO.

Prior to joining Cadbury, PLC, Shurts spent 20 years with Nabisco, where he started in various roles within the company’s financial, marketing and sales analysis organization. He then moved into Nabisco’s sales and marketing information systems area, where he took on roles of increasing responsibility, including VP of sales operations, VP of North American supply chain process and VP of e-business. Shurts left Nabisco in 2001 to start his own consulting firm, where he worked with diverse companies such as Avaya, IBM and Johnson & Johnson to deliver transformational technology strategies.

National data center and peering provider CoreSite has named Chuck Price as SVP of Information Technology. Price has over 18 years of executive IT leadership experience. Earlier Price was working as the head of technology for TD Ameritrade Trust Company, where he was responsible for the business unit’s post-acquisition integration, technology strategy and operational excellence. C-level positions at Fiserv Investment Support Services, Requisite Technology, Syngistix and Net Library have also been held by Price.

Dollar Financial Corp., an international diversified financial services company, announced the appointment of Mike Coury as CIO. Coury brings with him more than 25 years of progressive experience primarily in the financial services sector. Prior to joining Dollar Financial Corp, he was employed with Capital One Financial Corporation from 1998 to 2010.

DJSP Enterprises, Inc., a provider of processing services for the mortgage and real estate industries, has appointed Norman E. Gottschalk III to the newly created position of CIO. Gottschalk has more than 25 years of experience in the IT field, most recently as Director, Business Development, SoftwareAG (webMethods). Prior to that, he was Senior Vice President Application Development, Lenders First Choice where he was responsible for the architecture and development of a new enterprise SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) platform for Title and Escrow leveraging BPMS technology to provide true workflow with real time visibility and process excellence throughout the organization.

Stephen J. Gold is Avaya’s new CIO. Gold joins Avaya from GSI Commerce where he served as Executive Vice President, CIO and Corporate Chief Technology Officer, and was responsible for directing overall product and technology strategy for GSI’s eCommerce business. Prior to joining GSI, Gold was Vice President and Divisional CIO for Merck & Company’s US Human Health and Worldwide Vaccines divisions.

Crescent Healthcare, which delivers pharmaceutical therapies in alternate site settings announced the appointment of Brett Michalak to the position of CIO, reporting to CEO Robert Funari and Crescent Healthcare’s Board of Directors. Michalak is well known for his work at, where he created the first enterprise-class web-based ticketing platform developed from the ground up. He received the 2009 CIO 100 Award from CIO Magazine for creating business value through the effective and innovative use of technology. He has demonstrated success directing large-scale, mission-critical, software projects through implementation, creating significant enterprise value.

That’s it for this month. Thanks for listening and send me news!