by Martha Heller

Your Strategy Window

Sep 28, 20124 mins
CareersCIOIT Jobs

What new CIOs have in common is a short window of opportunity to address the 'Operations versus Strategy' paradox head on.

Your Strategy Window

When I discuss the CIO Paradox with CIOs (which I seem to do all the time), I find that there is one in particular that always seems to strike a nerve. CIOs chuckle knowingly at the paradox “Your many successes are invisible but your few mistakes are highly visible” and stifle a grimace at “You sign vendors’ checks but they often go around you to sell to your business peers.” But the paradox “You were hired to be strategic but you spend most of your time on operational issues” always hits home. 

For Ron Kifer, former CIO Applied Materials, there are a number of contributing factors to the ‘Operations versus Strategy’ paradox but the biggest is the fact that “it is really tough to be strategic when your pants are on fire,” he says. “The majority of CIOs are pretty much facing the same situation: a legacy of years of underinvestment in IT and poorly integrated applications.” With approximately 80 percent of the IT budget going toward maintenance, “the bulk of their time, money, and talent are not focused on business-enabling change leadership,” says Kifer.

What the new CIOs below have in common is a short window of opportunity to address the ‘Operations versus Strategy’ paradox head on. Can they establish themselves as strategic, right at the beginning of their tenure, and avoid letting the weeds grow around their ankles?

Bill Murphy was named CIO of Hilton Worldwide. In this role, Murphy will be responsible for managing the company’s global technology team and infrastructure, as well as its technology business partnerships. He will also retain his responsibilities as CTO, the position he has held since early 2012. Previously, Murphy was SVP and CTO of Travelport, Inc.

Former CIO of Levi Strauss & Company, Tom Peck, was appointed SVP and CIO of AECOM. During his 20-plus-year career as an IT leader he has served as CIO at MGM Mirage, and CIO for NBC Universal’s entertainment business unit.

Steven Vollmer was named CIO for Wynn Resorts and comes with over 15 years experience in the hotel and resort industry. Prior, Vollmer served as VP and CTO of Las Vegas Sands Corporation where he oversaw seven global sites including Singapore, Macao, China and several US locations.  Earlier in his career, Vollmer was Director of IT at New York New York Hotel and Casino.

Jeff Martin was named CIO, Global Products and Supply Chain at Dell Inc. reporting to Adriana Karaboutis, Dell’s CIO. Jeff has been a leader in IT for over 18 years and most recently served as CIO of Transformation at PepsiCo International.

The American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) appointed Mark Katz as the new CIO. Katz comes to ASCAP with over two decades of experience in IT and operations and most recently was VP of Application Development and Infrastructure at Connolly Inc., a $200 million recovery audit firm. Katz will report to EVP & Chief Operating Officer, Al Wallace.

iJet VP of Operations Technology, Mark Griffith, was named CIO and will now oversee the company’s technology strategy. Griffith brings more than 22 years of experience to iJET’s senior leadership team, and expertise in deploying and managing critical, high-availability systems and services in industries such as nuclear power, aviation, and healthcare.

Gary Hoberman has been named Senior VP & CIO, Regional Application Development. Previously, Hoberman worked for Citigroup for over 15 years, most recently as Managing Director, Information Technology.

Bryce Austin informs us that he made the move from CIO of Wells Fargo, Business Payroll Services, to Group Project Manager, Payments and Wealth Division, at US Bank.  Bryce comes to US Bank with over a decade of IT infrastructure and implementation experience in the banking and financial services industry.

As always, thanks for reading.  Until next time…

Martha Heller