CIO-Plus or CIO-Minus?

Straight Talk Featured Blogger Peter High’s CIO-Plus series in Forbes explores the trend of CIOs who are taking on more C-level titles. “Most CIOs wear many hats,” says High. “The good news is, those hats are getting more strategic.” In some cases, however, an all-out digital strategy means that the CIO is out and another senior executives takes on responsibilities for all things digital, including managing the IT organization.

Take, for example, Nordstrom. In the span of two weeks in January 2017, the retailer’s CIO and CTO announced their departures. T replace them, reported CIO Journal, the company plans to hire a new CTO by the end of the year who will be responsible for all aspects of technology at Nordstrom, including the responsibilities that were part of the traditional CIO role. CIO Journal cited other such recent cases such as the elimination of the CIO title at Staples and Wells Fargo.

But January also saw the elevation of GE Power CIO Clay Johnson to CIO and executive vice president for global business services at Wal-Mart, a great example of the CIO-Plus trend.  The new division combines cybersecurity, back-office solutions and global shared services groups under a single umbrella, led by Johnson.

This may indicate that regardless of the exact title, the trend could best be labeled as “operations-plus,” stressing the importance of the efficiency of business processes and acknowledging CIOs traditional strengths in this area. Indeed, 40.8% of CIOs responding to a recent IDC survey said that the focus of their digital initiatives is “improving operations” a opposed to 35.5% who cited “new products” and 34.2% that mentioned “new markets.” According to IDC vice president of research Mike Jennett, rather than experiment with unfamiliar or untested digital capabilities, CIOs are instead “focusing on what they know best and what is low risk,” citing siloed organizations, resistance to change and other corporate-world barriers to innovation.

Where you focus your digital initiatives may have to do with what industry you are in and how much it is investing in IT. In the U.S., according to CompTIA, the tech sector has added a net 9,000 new IT jobs in January. By contrast, demand for IT workers at firms outside of the tech sector declined in January, dropping by 50,000 jobs, after increasing by 154,000 jobs in December.

In other recent appointments and career moves:

Western Digital Corp. (WDC) has appointed Martin Fink to the position of CTO, reporting to CEO Steve Milligan. Previously, Fink was CTO and director of HP Labs at HP Enterprise.

CLEAResult Consulting Inc. has appointed Greg Sarich to be its first CIO, reporting to Aziz Virani, CLEAResult CEO and president. Previously, Sarich was vice president at HP Enterprise, he and has held executive positions at CPS Energy, the largest municipal energy utility in the nation, and TXU Energy, the leading competitive retail electricity provider in Texas.

Deutsche Bank AG has appointed Chris Barker as CIO for group information and records management. Previously, Barker was managing director and global head of digital and engineering services at Royal Bank of Scotland and head of wholesale technology, global derivatives and strategic risk at CIBC Capital Markets.

Comcast Corp.’s cable division has appointed Scott McAllister as senior vice president for digital transformation, reporting to John Williamson, senior vice president and general manager for digital. Previously, McAllister was senior vice president of consumer digital marketing and business development at Time Inc.

Nutanix has appointed Wendy Pfeiffer as CIO, reporting to Dheeraj Pandey, founder, chairman and CEO of Nutanix. Previously, Pfeiffer was vice president of IT at GoPro and has served in leadership positions at Yahoo and Robert Half.

Carnival Cruise Line has appointed Sean Kenny as senior vice president and CIO, reporting to CFO James Heaney. Previously, Kenny worked with Ernst & Young as a global client services executive and at EDS.

Christie’s International has appointed Richard Entrup as global CIO, reporting to Deputy Chief Executive Officer Stephen Brooks. Previously, Entrup was at Disney/ABC Television Group, where he oversaw the Media IT business engagement group. He’s also held technology leadership roles at Time Warner Inc., the Museum of Modern Art, Tiffany & Co. and several health-care companies.

The U.S. Department of Defense CIO, Terry Halvorsen, will be retiring at the end of February. Current principal deputy CIO, John Zangardi, is expected to step in as acting CIO.


Amtrak has promoted Ghada Ijam from senior vice president, Information Technology, to CIO.

Bethesda Lutheran Homes & Services has promoted Mike Klimkosky from vice president, Information Technology, to CIO.

Stony Brook Medicine has promoted Matthew Nappi from Interim Chief Information Security Officer to vice president, Information Technology & CIO.

RSA Insurance Group has appointed David Germain as Group CTO.

Roadrunner Transportation Systems has appointed Scott Cousins as CIO.

Brookhaven Memorial Hospital has appointed Matt Peddie as vice president & CIO.

Prime Care Technologies has appointed Travis Stevenson as CIO.

Peterborough, England-based Aldermore has appointed Rebecca Bunyan as CIO.