by Martha Heller

The Product CIO

Apr 03, 20127 mins
CareersIT JobsIT Strategy

Companies are picking IT chiefs to help delight customers and generate revenue.

Spring seems to be the season for big CIO moves at companies like Starbucks, the New York Times, Jet Blue and Southwest Airlines. Consumer facing companies like these are no doubt in search of “product CIOs” who can generate revenue by delighting the customer through cool new mobility services. These CIOs’ ability to juggle this customer-centricity with the internal, operational responsibilities of their jobs will make or break their success. As a consumer of all of these companies, I’m excited!

Thanks so much to readers of Movers and Shakers and The Heller Report for sending me news of their CIO promotions and new appointments. On to the news:

Stephen Gillett, the Starbucks CIO who revamped the retailer’s technological approach to selling coffee, has joined Best Buy as president of the company’s digital business, including its online stores. At Starbucks, Gillett was instrumental in offering free wireless Internet service to customers as well as allowing payment by smartphones. The moves were credited with being a part of the rejuvenation of the customer experience at Starbucks. In recognition of his efforts, Fortune named Gillett to its list of 40 top executives under age 40 in 2010. Starbucks has since promoted Curt Garner to be the new CIO, and Adam Brotman to senior vice president of digital ventures.

The New York Times announced that it has named Marc Frons as its new CIO. He will report jointly to James Follo, senior vice president and chief financial officer, The New York Times Company and Denise Warren, chief advertising officer, The New York Times Media Group and general manager, Frons has served as chief technology officer of digital operations for The New York Times Media Group since 2006. From 2003 to 2006 he worked at Dow Jones & Co., leaving as VP and chief technology officer for its Consumer Media Group.

JetBlue Airways has selected Eash Sundaram as EVP & CIO. In this role, Sundaram will be responsible for the New York-based airline’s information systems and technology strategies focused on enhancing the customer experience. He succeeds Joseph Eng, who left the company in 2011. Sundaram will report to the airline’s President and CEO, Dave Barger, and will represent Systems and Technology on the airline’s Executive Leadership Team. Sundaram most recently served as CIO at Pall Corporation, a global business in the diverse field of filtration, separations and purification.

Randy Sloan has been named Vice President and CIO at Southwest Airlines. In this role, Sloan will oversee all technology functions at Southwest. Sloan comes to Southwest from Pepsi Co., where he worked for 25 years in various management roles. Most recently, Sloan served as SVP and CIO for PepsiCo International, with responsibilities for all business transformation and supporting technology for PepsiCo’s Europe, Asia, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America businesses.

Michael Baresich has joined Ally Financial Services, Inc. as CIO. In this role, he has responsibility for global information technology and related services. Prior to joining Ally, Baresich was executive VP and CIO of CIT Group in New York since 2006, where he was responsible for all Information Technology development, operations and infrastructure worldwide.

SunTrust named Anil Cheriyan as its CIO to succeed Tim Sullivan, who is retiring after serving in the position since 2003. Cheriyan joins SunTrust from IBM Global Business Services, where he was s a senior partner serving financial services industry clients and led a variety of business systems transformation, technology and process re-engineering initiatives.

KeyCorp has named Amy G. Brady as CIO. Brady will head Key Enterprise Technology, reporting to Tom Stevens, Key’s chief administrative officer, and serve on the company’s Management Committee.  Brady most recently was CIO, enterprise technology and operations at Bank of America.

Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation, or MGIG, a subsidiary of MGIC Investment Corporation, has appointed Gregory Chi as SVP and CIO. Chi will lead the company’s information technology team and the services it provides to the company and its customers. Prior to joining MGIC, Chi had been SVP of Enterprise Delivery Services with SunTrust Bank since 2008.

The Systemax North American Technology Products Group, a business unit of Systemax Inc. announced that it has appointed Michael Jones to its CIO post. Jones is a seasoned IT executive and most recently was the CIO for Michael’s Stores. Systemax Inc. is a Fortune 1000 company that sells personal computers, computer components and supplies, consumer electronics and industrial products through a system of branded e-Commerce websites, retail stores, and other channels in North America and Europe. Its primary brands are TigerDirect, CompUSA, Circuit City, MISCO, WStore and Global Industrial.

Lalit Panda reports that he has moved into a new role as Global Head of IT at Arysta Lifescience, a global agricultural chemicals company in Norwalk, CT.  “After 17 years in consumer electronics I moved into a completely new industry. Most of my career was in Supply Chain but I feel it is a great time to be a CIO and I relish the transformation challenge in mid-sized companies where the opportunity to make a significant business contribution and take IT to the next level is the greatest,” he said.

Jim Monson informed me that he recently took on a new role as CTO for CoreLink. “We are an Enterprise Software company that develops solutions with embedded best practices for the healthcare insurance industry,” he said. Corelink is based in Fargo, ND. Previously, Jim had been the CIO at Phyxius Solutions.

James Lamb reports that he has been named the CIO at Interstate Hotels & Resorts, of Arlington, VA. Interstate Hotels & Resorts is a global hotel management company. Its portfolio encompasses nearly 400 hotels and more than 70,000 rooms located throughout the US and around the world. He accepted the role with Interstate in January of 2012 after serving as a consultant at the company since September 2011.

Ed Anderson has been named CIO for World Vision International. World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice globally. Previously, Ed served as SVP and Practice Leader at Anerian LLC, a management consulting firm (now known as 1901 Group), and before that he was CIO for the Peace Corps.

AIT Laboratories announced that Ron Thieme, Ph.D., its VP and CIO since 2007, has been promoted to president and CEO of the company. Thieme has more than 25 years of experience serving healthcare, financial, logistics, and manufacturing industries. He succeeds AIT’s founder, Michael A. Evans, Ph.D., who was named chairman of the board of directors. Headquartered in Indianapolis, AIT is a national healthcare company that specializes in compliance testing, forensic toxicology drug testing, and clinical laboratory testing. William (Bill) Cox has been promoted to CIO.

Josefina Nash has been appointed VP of Information Technology for Bancroft, a Haddonfield, NJ-based service provider for people with autism, acquired brain injuries and other intellectual and developmental disabilities. Nash fills a newly upgraded position that has been elevated to support major planned advances in Bancroft’s use of technology, including development of an electronic health record. Nash has more than 20 years of experience in information technology and related fields. Most recently, she was director of IT operations for TAI Software Inc. in Robbinsville, NJ

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. announced that C. Martin Harris, MD, MBA, CIO and chairman of the information technology division of Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, OH has been elected to its board of directors, effective March 30. Dr. Harris has also been appointed to the board’s Nominating and Governance Committee.  Dr. Harris has served on numerous national policy and technology organizations, and was tapped by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to help draft the electronic health records mandate in the economic stimulus package. He currently serves on the boards of Invacare Corporation, and HealthStream, Inc.

As always, thanks for reading and for sending me news.