april appointments and career moves


Merchant to Drive Digital Innovation as New TIAA-CREF CIO 

Financial services provider TIAA-CREF has appointed Rahul Merchant as Executive Vice President and CIO, reporting to Ron Pressman, TIAA-CREF’s COO. Merchant replaces Straight Talk contributor Annabelle Bexiga, who was promoted to COO of the company’s asset management business in June 2014. In “Culture Change: IT as an Innovation Engine,” Bexiga described how she has transformed TIAA-CREF’s IT organization, preparing it for a new leadership role: “As business becomes increasingly digital and technology becomes the product, the IT function needs to be a driver of innovation.”

Merchant has the business experience and IT expertise to run IT as a strategic function. In 2012, Merchant was asked by Mayor Bloomberg to serve as New York’s first citywide chief information and innovation officer and as commissioner of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications. Reporting directly to Bloomberg, Merchant was charged with making IT a new center of excellence for the city. 

A graduate of the University of Mumbai, Merchant has an MS degree in computer science from the University of Memphis and an MBA from Temple University. He has held a number of technology leadership positions in his thirty-year career, among them as executive vice president and CIO at Fannie Mae, and as senior vice president and CTO at Merrill Lynch, where he helped rebuild the company’s technology infrastructure after 9/11. Merchant currently serves on the boards of Altico Capital, Juniper Networks, and AASKI Technology.

In other recent appointments and career moves:

Rite Aid Corp. has appointed Steve Rempel as its CIO, supporting the pharmacy chain’s efforts to inject more digital technologies into its 4,570 retail pharmacy stores. Remple, reporting to Chief Administration Officer Frank Vitrano, joins Rite Aid after serving as CEO, president and CIO of retail software company Balance Innovations. Prior to Balance Innovations, he worked for 35 years at grocery chain Safeway Inc., where he ran application development, among other IT leadership roles.

American International Group Inc. (AIG) has appointed Mike Brady as its first CTO, reporting to CIO Phil Fasano, formerly CIO of Kaiser, who joined AIG last October. Brady has led IT infrastructure at Kaiser since 2009, and has more than 25 years leading infrastructure teams at Citigroup Inc., General Electric, Merrill Lynch, and Fidelity Investments. He was awarded a patent in Network Security in 2010 for creating a process to halt the spread of computer viruses.

Bitcoin startup Bitreserve has appointed Anthony Watson, former global CIO at Nike, as president and COO.  Watson has also served as CIO of Europe, Middle East & Global Operations at Barclays PLC and senior vice president and global head of technology services at Wells Fargo & Co. He also has held senior roles at Citigroup Inc., Unisys Corp., Microsoft Corp. and First-e Bancorp.

PRA Group Inc. has appointed Deborah Cassidy as its CIO, reporting to Kevin Stevenson, executive vice president, CFO and chief administrative officer. Most recently, Cassidy was senior vice president and business CIO for Genworth Financial, Inc. Prior to that she served seven years with Allianz Assistance as vice president and CIO and 15 years with the Tredegar Corporation.

Stewart Information Services Corp., a global provider of title insurance and other real estate services, has appointed Brad Rable as CIO, reporting to CEO Matt Morris. Rable most recently served as an executive partner with Gartner Executive Programs and before that as executive vice president, CIO and chief strategy officer for AIG/United Guaranty. Rable replaces Murshid Khan, who left the company in March after eight years as CIO to become President & Chief Operating Officer of Real Tek Holdings, LLC.

Data center manger Digital Realty Trust Inc. has appointed Michael Henry as its first CIO, reporting to CEO and CFO A. William Stein. Henry joins Digital Reality from Rovi Corporation where he served as Senior Vice President and CIO.

The North American Electric Reliability (NERC) Corp., a non-profit organization that sets standards for North America’s power grid, has appointed Marcus Sachs as its new chief security officer. Sachs will oversee the Electricity Sector Information Sharing and Analysis Center operations and will direct risk assessment and mitigation initiatives to protect critical electricity infrastructure. He will also work with government agencies to manage the analysis, response and dissemination of security information. Most recently, Sachs was vice president of national security policy for Verizon Communications, and prior to that, deputy director for the computer science laboratory at SRI International, which supported the Dept. of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Development Center.

The CIO for the U.S. intelligence Community has retired. In the role, Al Tarasiuk helped build a common enterprise architecture that spans the intelligence community. The IC ITE includes a common desktop environment, joint cloud environment, an “applications mall” and security coordination services. J. Alan Royal, deputy intelligence community CIO, is serving as acting CIO.

Exchange-traded fund provider WisdomTree Investments, has appointed David Yates as its first CIO chief information officer, reporting to CFO Amit Muni. Most recently, he advised financial services companies on technology and operations issues at McKinsey & Co., and before that he was a consultant with Accenture.


UGI Utilities has appointed Thomas Lord as its new Vice President and CIO.

United Stationers Inc. has promoted Janet Zelenka to the position of senior vice president and CIO.

AIP Aerospace (AIPA) has appointed Rajesh (Raj) Kasaraneni as CIO.

Emery Financial, Inc. has appointed Bob Rowe as CiO.

Arthur J Gallagher (AJG) has appointed Sean Connelly as its global CIO.

ManTech has appointed John Dorman as CIO.

Union County College has appointed Inder V. Singh as CIO.

PLS Logistics Services has appointed Jon Herberger as CIO.

Amherst College has promoted David Hamilton to the position of CIO.

PRA Group has appointed Deborah G. Cassidy as its new CIO.

WisdomTree Investments, Inc. has appointed David Yates as its first CIO.

TrustCommerce has appointed Eric Hanson as its first CIO.​