Congratulations to Barry Libenson on his appointment as SVP and CIO of Safeway. Last year, when Barry was SVP and CIO of Land O’ Lakes, I did an interview with him. In addition to providing some tips for making delicious pizza dough, Barry talked through his approach to interviewing leaders for his senior team and what he expects to hear from candidates.
For those of you looking to hit Barry up for a new job at Safeway, here’s an excerpt from that interview:
Martha: When you are interviewing candidates for your senior roles, is there a particular question you use to assess their skills?
Barry: “Tell me what you would do in the first 30 days if you got this job. What would your strategy and your approach be?” Their answer gives me some idea of how good a listener they are, how strategically they think, and what their approach to management is, especially in the first 30 days, because that’s when people are the most open to changes.
My view is that in the first 30 days, you should be doing more listening than talking. I want to hear them say, “In my first 30 days I’m going to get out there and meet the people in my organization; I’m going to learn how the company functions; I’m going to visit the plants; I’m going to talk to the executive leadership team and understand how the company works.”
I don’t want to hear, “The first thing I would probably do is to restructure the support organization and change out the infrastructure.”
Barry Libenson is not the only CIO to change employers this month:
ADT Corporation announced the appointment of Kathleen McLean to SVP and CIO. Most recently, McLean served as EVP, Chief Revenue Officer and CIO at FairPoint Communications, Inc. Prior to that, she spent nearly 12 years in various leadership roles at Verizon Communications, Inc.
Jeff Balagna joined Sears Holdings as EVP and CIO, replacing Keith Sherwell. Most recently, Balagna served as CIO at pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. Prior, he spent over 5 years with Carlson Companies in various capacities, including serving as CEO of Carlson Marketing.
CIO of Marathon Oil, Thomas K. Sneed, will retire after 32 years with the oil giant. Bruce McCullough, who most recently served as Director of Global Business Systems at Anadarko Petroleum Corporations’s, will succeed Sneed effective June 17.
Greg Fittinghoff was promoted to CIO at HBO, succeeding Michael Gabriel. Fittinghoff has been with the television company for the past 6 years in roles such as SVP, Application Development and VP, Corporate Systems.
Christopher Barber has joined American LegalNet, a workflow solutions provider, as CTO. Prior, Barber held CIO roles at Antillus Personnel Solutions, WesCorp, and GlobeNet Capital Corp.
Peter M. Siegel has been appointed the University of Southern California’s CIO, effective July 15. Siegel comes with over 10 years of experience leading IT organizations in the education industry. Previously, Siegel was the CIO at the University of California at Davis and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Zebra Technologies Corporation, a company that provides visibility into organizations’ assets, people and transactions, announced that Dean Crutchfield has been named VP and CIO. Prior to joining Zebra, Crutchfield spent 14 years at Dell, Inc., most recently as Executive Director of Dell Application Services.
Finally, my good friend Dee Waddell has accepted the CIO role at Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc., a leader in business and corporate aviation trip management. Prior, Waddell was Group CIO at Amtrak and Director of eCommerce Programs at United Airlines.
Martha Heller is CEO of Heller Search Associates, an IT executive recruiting firm specializing in CIO, CTO, CISO and senior technology roles in all industries. She is the author The CIO Paradox: Battling the Contradictions of IT Leadership and Be the Business: CIOs in the New Era of IT. To join the IT career conversation, subscribe to The Heller Report.