IT is Key to GE’s Digital Transformation 

Chris Drumgoole has been appointed vice president and CTO of GE Information Technology; Clay Johnson has been appointed vice president and CIO for GE Power; and Matthias Heilmann has joined GE from ABB as vice president and Chief Digital Officer (CDO) for GE Oil & Gas.

At the Gartner Symposium in October 2015, GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt challenged the audience of 8,500 CIOs and IT leaders to rethink what it means to be CIOs of their companies: “You just have been too passive for too long. You are just not conceptualizing how important you are in your company. I would say you have to be an active leader, demanding your seat at the table because your company needs you. You’re now totally at the front of the line in terms of what’s important to your CEOs.”

The digitization of GE is the single most important initiative he’s been involved in during his 33 years with the company, said Immelt.  On February 23, 2016, GE has made it clear that the IT function plays a critical role in the digital transformation of the giant industrial company by appointing three of its IT executives as new corporate officers.

In an interview earlier this year with Straight Talk Featured Blogger Peter High, GE’s CIO Jim Fowler talked about his audacious goals of driving $1 billion in productivity gains by 2020 while also generating $15 billion in revenue growth from software and technology. In a digital company, Fowler told High, the role of the CIO “has to be as much about being a great chief operating officer as it does being a technologist. You have to be able to understand the complete value chain of how we serve our customers externally and understand where those value points are – how we drive better service and costs for customers, how we improve our touch-times with customers.”

In other recent appointments and career moves:

Caesars Entertainment Corporation has appointed Les Ottolenghi as executive vice president and CIO, reporting to president and CEO Mark Frissora. Ottolenghi joined Caesars from Las Vegas Sands Corporation, where he served as the Chief Information & Innovation Officer. Previously, he held senior level IT positions with global hospitality brands Carlson Wagonlit Travel and Holiday Inn Worldwide.

ShopRite parent Wakefern Food Corp. has promoted its vice president of digital commerce and innovation, Cheryl Williams, to the role of the supermarket operator and wholesaler’s CIO.  Williams was initially hired in 1996 as a retail systems manager in the company’s computer information services division, becoming a vice president of marketing five years later.

Skin care firm Rodan & Fields LLC has appointed Ralph Loura as CTO, reporting to president and CEO Diane Dietz. Previously, Loura was CIO at of Hewlett-Packard Co.’s enterprise group and Clorox.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has appointed Darren Ash as CIO. Previously, Ash has served as CIO of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for nine years. He replaces Larry Gross, who in October became CIO of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Nike has appointed Adam Sussman as its first Chief Digital Officer (CDO), reporting to Trevor Edwards, president of NIKE Brand. Previuosly, Sussman held multiple positions in the interactive gaming and entertainment industries, including EA Mobile and Disney Interactive.

Standard Chartered has appointed James Dolphin CIO, retail banking, reporting to Group CIO, Dr. Michael Gorriz, to help kickstart the bank's digital transformation initiative. Previously, Dolphin was CIO for retail and direct banking at Capital One.

Dr. Roland Schütz has been appointed CIO of all Lufthansa Group airlines. In this new role, Schütz, previously CIO of Lufthansa Passage operative business, will consolidate all relevant digitalization programs, accelerating the digital transformation of all airlines in the Lufthansa Group. Schütz has worked for the Lufthansa Group since 2005, first as chief operating officer for Infrastructure Services at Lufthansa Systems.

Samsung Electronics America has appointed Kal Raman as Chief Digital Officer (CDO). Previously, Raman was CEO of Xome, a new digital-focused unit of Nationstar Mortgage, COO at Groupon and CEO at He has also worked at Amazon and Walmart.


Orion First has appointed Paul Marcoe as CTO.

Workday has appointed Diana McKenzie CIO).

Carhartt has appointed John Hill as CIO.

Sealed Air has appointed Edwina Payne as vice president and CIO.

Havas Media has appointed Ben Grace as CTO.  

Destination Hotels has appointed Andrew Arthurs as senior vice president and CIO.

Southwest Media Group has promoted Eric Schaefer to Chief Digital Officer (CDO).

Bentley University has appointed Bob Wittstein as CIO.

American Advisors Group has appointed Michael Josephs as CIO.

Seattle Children's has appointed Jeff Brown as senior vice president and CIO.

Thomas Cook has appointed Gilles Despas as Chief Digital Officer (CDO).

FCCI has appointed Jeff Frazee as CIO.

Service King Collision Repair Centers has appointed Anil Varghese as Chief Information Security Officer.

Addus HomeCare Corporation has appointed James "Zeke" Zoccoli as CIO.