New Biogen CIO to Focus on Technology, Data and Devices

Biogen, one of the world’s oldest independent biotechnology companies, has appointed Matt Griffiths as senior vice president and CIO, reporting to Adriana Karaboutis, Biogen’s executive vice president of Technology and Business Solutions. Griffiths was promoted to the CIO role from his position as vice president of Pharmaceutical Operations and Corporate Information Technology, having joined Biogen from Dell earlier this year.

Karaboutis, who joined Biogen in 2014 after serving as Dell’s Global CIO, wrote in “Choosing the Road Not Taken”:

The most important thing to learn in whatever industry or business you’re in is how to apply technology to make a difference to end customers. When George Scangos, Biogen’s CEO, talked to me about joining the company, he didn’t talk about the big data analytics tools that we could develop or the insights we could get from wearables. He talked to me about what he wants to do in the biotech industry and the impact he wants to have on our patients’ lives. He expects me to connect technology to the achievement of those goals.

Both Karaboutis (who, before her tenure with Dell worked in the automotive industry for 20 years) and Griffiths (who worked at Dell for 16 years) are leading indicators of how digital technologies are becoming an integral and strategic part of the business in all industries and how “IT executives” are increasingly in demand outside of the industry in which they have worked before. All businesses are now digital businesses—generating, analyzing, and monetizing data to advance their strategic goals:  “As we continue to advance the development of new therapeutic candidates and gain insights from existing treatments, our ability to harness data becomes increasingly important,” said Karaboutis in the press release announcing Griffith’s new role at Biogen.

In other recent appointments and career moves:


Walgreens Boots Alliance has promoted Anthony Roberts to the position of senior vice president and global CIO, replacing Tim Theriault, executive vice president and global CIO who resigned for personal reasons. Theriault will continue to serve as a consultant to the company and as a senior advisor to Executive Vice Chairman and Acting CEO Stefano Pessina on a range of issues, including cyber security. Before Walgreen, Roberts worked at PepsiCo and UPS.

Transportation and supply chain management specialist Ryder System has promoted Melvin (Mel) Kirk to the position of CIO, reporting to executive vice president and chief administrative officer Greg Greene. Kirk joined Ryder in 2012 as vice president of Maintenance, Engineering & Quality Operations within the Fleet Management Solutions organization. He has more than 25 years of broad-based experience, serving in a variety of roles at Morpho Detection Inc., Merck, General Mills, and GE, where he became one of the first certified Master Black Belts in 1996.

Chris Laping has quit his job as CIO of Red Robin Gourmet Burgers to launch People Before Things, a consultancy focused on business transformation. In a LinkedIn post, Laping wrote that transformations often fail because they are focused on technology rather than people: “if we want to launch a transformation in our organizations, we can only do that by first honoring the human experience and how it can dramatically change the outcomes of any implementation.” In an interview last year with Peter High, Laping said: “What I love about being a CIO is that we actually have a fairly rich toolbox to do these type of things – to bring multiple stakeholders together and build alignment.  Now, some of us choose to use it on technical projects only, but I’m of the school of thought that when a company needs to leverage that toolbox, it creates a big win for everyone.” Now Laping plans to distill his experience with the CIO’s tool box into a new book and a new venture which you can follow @pplb4things.

The Lufthansa Group has promoted Josef Bogdanski to the position of Chief Information Officer/Chief Process Officer (CIO/CPO), reporting to Harry Hohmeister, Chief Officer Group Airlines, Logistics and IT.  He is responsible for the global IT and process management of the Aviation Group and drives the further integration of the airline and service companies in this field. Bogdanski began his career at Deutsche Lufthansa AG in 1984 and has held leadership positions in sales and area management.

Cablevision Systems has appointed Keith Sherwell to a newly created corporate CIO position, reporting to David Dibble, the company’s CTO. Previously, Sherwell was CIO at Office Depot’s international division, CIO at Sears Holding Corp., and senior vice president of technology at American Express.

Biopharmaceutical company Incyte has appointed Steven Lerner as CIO, replacing Roger Hoilman, who is retiring after 14 years with Incyte. Lerner joined Incyte after two years as founder and CEO of YakStack LLC, a mobile and Web service that lets consumers and businesses send broadcast phone calls and text messages to groups of people.

Restaurant holding company American Blue Ribbon Holdings has appointed Jeffery Kent as CIO, reporting to CFO Anita Adams. He replaces Robert Hess, who was with the company for about three years. Previously, Kent was vice president for information technology at Yankee Candle Company, and before that worked at Carrols Corporation, one of the largest Burger King franchisees, Fiesta Restaurant Group, and Wendy’s International.

Marc Frons, senior vice president and CIO at the New York Times, is leaving to “pursue other opportunities,” apparently as a result of being passed over when the Times appointed Kinsey Wilson in March to the new position of executive vice president for product and technology. Frons had directed the Times’ technologies through several revolutions, developing the technology team from 40 people to more than 300 over the last nine years (see below for the departure earlier in May of his deputy, Rajiv Pant).


Splunk, providing big data analytics for IT operations, has appointed Snehal Antani as CTO, reporting to Godfrey Sullivan, Chairman and CEO. Antani will work with Guido Schroeder, senior vice president, products, and Stephen Sorkin, chief strategy officer, to direct the long-term vision for Splunk’s technology. Previously, Antani served as CIO for multiple divisions of GE Capital and in a number of IT strategy and technology roles at IBM. He holds 10 U.S. patents.

Financial services firm LPL Financial LLC has appointed David Wright as executive vice president and its first CTO, reporting to managing director and CIO Victor Fetter. Previously, Wright served as interim CIO at McGraw-Hill Education and before that in a variety of technology-related roles at Capital One, the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, and AT&T.

Startup Some Spider has hired Rajiv Pant, CTO at the New York Times, to oversee technology, product and design. Some Spider is the brainchild of Vinit Bharara, who made his name creating e-commerce startup Quidsi Inc. – the parent company of and — and then selling it to Amazon in 2010 for about $550 million. Last fall he launched Some Spider, which is designed to own a network of news sites based off of the blogging platform Before the New York Times, Pant served in technology leadership roles at Conde Nast, Cox Newspapers, and Knight Ridder Digital.


LogRhythm, a security vendor, has appointed James Carder as vice president and chief information security officer (CISO), reporting to Chris Petersen, senior vice president of products, CTO and co-founder. Previously, Carder was the director of security informatics at Mayo Clinic.

Telecom operator Vodafone Group has appointed Emma Smith as group technology security director, replacing Bryan Littlefair, who left Vodafone in February to take a chief information security officer job with insurance firm Aviva PLC.  Previously, Smith was director of security and resilience at the Royal Bank of Scotland.


Hanover Insurance Group has appointed Noreen Randazzo as CIO.

Lockheed Martin has appointed Anne (Charron) Mullins as CIO.

Mirabito Holdings has promoted Eric Bunts to the position of CIO.

Eircom has appointed Erik Slooten as CIO.

Dow Jones and Company has appointed Jaswinder (Jas) Hayre as CISO.

LifeLock has appointed Neal Daswani as CISO.

Yahoo! has promoted Laurie Mann to the position of CIO.

P.F. Chang's has appointed Ed Mitzel as CIO.

PricewaterhouseCoopers has appointed James Shira as CISO.

John Muir Health has appointed Thomas August as CISO.

Freddie Mac has appointed Debbie Wheeler as CISO.  

BNY Mellon has appointed Christopher Hall as Deputy CISO.

RSA Canada has appointed Paula Sinclair as Senior VP & CIO.

Mattel has appointed Jill Knesek as Vice President, Information Security & CISO.

Duquesne Light has appointed Mark Miko as CIO.

Coca-Cola Bottling has appointed Darrell Thompson as Vice President, Information Technology.

The State of Washington has appointed Alexander (Alex) Alben as Chief Privacy Officer.

MGM Grand Resorts International has appointed Scott Howitt as CISO.