Five for Five

By Baselinemag  |  Posted 2001-12-10 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

When a CIO only stays in place for two or three years, it's hard to generate momentum on technology initiatives - or create lasting gain for a company. Baseline went looking for five CIOs who have directed their information technology teams for at least

Allan P. Woods
Mellon Financial Corp.

Tenure as CIO: 11 years
Career Path: Before joining Mellon in 1986, was president of several subsidiaries of the Fidata/Bradford Computer and Systems organization. Also at Bankers Trust of New York from 1970 to 1972
Educational Background: B.A. in history and philosophy from St. John's University in New York
Age: 55
Key Accomplishment as CIO: Forming strong alliances with business counterparts; that understanding has allowed him to put the right technology in place for specific business strategies. He's also worked hard to make sure that top officials at Mellon, all the way to the board of directors, get enough exposure to technology for them to understand its value and its power
Key Challenge as CIO: Choosing and piloting the emerging technologies most relevant to Mellon's business strategies. Woods has had to develop the expertise and confidence to integrate those innovations without jeopardizing the existing system
Key Personality Characteristics: Good at delegating and team-building
Key to Longevity as CIO: Isn't threatened by highly capable subordinates. His experience as a Marine captain in Vietnam left him understanding how vital it is to have dedicated troops

Rich Malone
Edward Jones Investments

Tenure as CIO: 22 years
Career Path: Started at Edward Jones in 1979. Began career as computer operator and programmer in Kansas City, then found an opportunity in the IT department at Federal Home Loan Bank in Des Moines, Iowa. Was lured away from there to head up Edward Jones' automation effort
Educational Background: Some college course work, including classes in data processing, but no degree
Age: 52
Key Accomplishment as CIO: Grew IT from a department of one to more than 1,000 people; went from managing the company's original automation in the '80s to heading up a complete re-architecture
Key Challenge as CIO: Getting new projects completed while maintaining a solid, reliable, available system on a day-to-day basis
Key Personality Characteristics: Both cautious and practical. But every life has its detours; Malone's was dropping out of college in the late 1960s (fearful of being drafted, he opted to enlist instead)
Key to Longevity as CIO: Good at explaining technology to his peers on the business side. Most important, after 22 years at Edward Jones, he knows the business and has an instinctive feel for how technology can serve its needs

Dawn Lepore
Charles Schwab & Co.

Tenure as CIO: Eight years; was recently promoted to vice chairman of technology and administration as part of an effort to extend her reach
Career Path: Her tech career began as a computer programming trainee at Cincinnati Bell. She moved to Schwab in 1983 from Informatics, an information consulting firm in San Francisco. Spent several years as Schwab's senior vice president of information technology prior to being appointed CIO
Educational Background: B.A. in musicology from Smith College AGE: 47
Key Accomplishment as CIO: Credited with transforming Schwab into one of the top-ranked brokerages in online service offerings
Key Challenge as CIO: Lepore has gone through an extraordinarily hard year; she's had to reduce the company's infrastructure and lay off employees. In the midst of that change she has still forged ahead with the firm's global wireless initiative
Key Personality Characteristics: Despite her easygoing exterior, Lepore is driven. She refuses to be insulated and has a reputation for getting good work out of those around her. But even being one of California's most powerful corporate women, painful decisions involving people—layoffs, for instance—still get to her
Key to Longevity as CIO: Lepore's nontech background is viewed largely as an asset at Schwab. Indeed, it has a lot to do with the recent widening of her role

Ralph Szygenda
General Motors

Tenure as CIO: Five years
Career Path: Spent 12 years as a CIO, first at Texas Instruments and then at Bell Atlantic, before getting the GM slot. His mandate at GM was to take over the company's global IT systems from outsourcer Electronic Data Systems
Educational Background: B.S. in computer science from the University of Missouri-Rolla; M.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Texas
Age: 53
Key Accomplishment as CIO: Overhauling the company's information technology initiatives. Szygenda has cut GM's 7,000 information systems in half, helped launch some promising Web services, reduced production cycle times, and implemented common, streamlined processes everywhere. The net result: Savings of $1 billion for the corporation
Key Challenge as CIO: Making things happen quickly within the bureaucracy of a nearly $200 billion (sales) company
Key Personality Characteristics: Szygenda is impatient, tough, energetic, driven and demanding. He is also said to be very fair
Key to Longevity as CIO: Szygenda is highly articulate—good at translating arcane technical nuances into plain English. He understands that all new technology is really just a new and different spin on old-world business reasoning, and has a close, trusting relationship with GM's president and CEO, Rick Wagoner

Michael Heschel
Kroger Supermarkets

Tenure as CIO: 10 years
Career Path: Started at Boeing in 1969, working on manufacturing systems and marketing programs. In the 1970s, worked as a consultant for Food Machinery Corps. Was an information services executive at Baxter International and CEO of Security Pacific Automation Company prior to joining Kroger
Educational Background: Undergraduate and masters' degrees from Ohio State University; Ph.D. in industrial engineering from Arizona State University
Age: 60
Key Accomplishment as CIO: Overseeing Kroger's creation of a back-end system for computer-assisted ordering. Was also instrumental in meshing the technology infrastructure of Kroger and competitor Fred Meyer after the two companies merged in 1999
Key Personality Characteristics: One of the better-educated CIOs in retailing, Heschel takes a broad view and keeps careful watch not just on other grocery retailers but also on big-box retailers and others that might gain an advantage. Although described by some as understated and not the most inspirational leader, those traits have apparently not gotten in his way
Key to Longevity as CIO: Heschel has a deep understanding of the ins and outs of a highly competitive, low-margin, fast-moving business; he uses that knowledge to make sure all his IT projects are tailored to provide the best financial benefit and competitive positioning possible




 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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