by Maryfran Johnson

Leadership Legacy

Nov 01, 2009

This year's Hall of Fame honorees share a mission to accelerate IT and enable business success.

When CIO chose the first 12 members of the CIO Hall of Fame in 1997, the editors wondered how the still-nascent role of the chief information officer might look in the future. Would CIOs become more technically skilled, more business savvy or more influential across their entire organizations?

All of the above, as it turned out, and so much more (see “Leading Lights”).

With the six new members we induct on the evening of Nov. 9, at our CIO Year Ahead Summit in Indian Wells, Calif., there will be 50 individuals in the CIO Hall of Fame. We welcome and congratulate this year’s honorees: Asif Ahmad of Duke University Health System and Medical Center; Jean-Michel Ares of Coca-Cola; William Deam of Quintiles Transnational; David Johns of Owens Corning; Tony Scott of Microsoft; and Patricia Skarulis of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Like their predecessors, the 2009 Hall of Fame honorees are leaving their marks on a profession that grows more varied, unpredictable and challenging each year. They share a sense of mission, along with a conviction that IT has a responsibility to accelerate and enable business success. CIOs today have “broad entry into the entire organization,” says Pat Skarulis. “That sense of opportunity is always there.”

Taking risks is another hallmark of these CIOs. They pioneered worldwide ERP system rollouts. They took global business roles that pushed beyond their comfort zones. They switched industries to gain entrepreneurial experience.

Our cover story explores their interesting, unexpectedly twisting career paths. Like Bill Deam’s journey from very large companies to much smaller ones. “My résumé is the opposite of what you’d expect of someone becoming more successful with each job change,” he says.

Yet they don’t measure success by their own résumés as much as by the legacy of IT leaders they hope to leave behind them. “Take liberties,” is what Asif Ahmad advises potential CIOs on his staff at Duke as he urges them to take ownership of business projects beyond their job descriptions.

And to answer that perennial question about the future of the CIO role, David Johns has it nailed: “As global competition increases, as the focus on cost increases, as opportunities for technology to make a difference for a business increase, CIOs will expand their role,” he predicts. “That’s a very exciting career path.”