The Rise of the Atypical CIO

As information technology permeates all corners of the enterprise, new leaders of the function are increasingly selected from the ranks of executives without the typical IT background. For example, a Ph.D. in statistics and experience in brand management and development. 

Eli Lilly has promoted Aarti Shah to the position of senior vice president and CIO, reporting to executive vice president of Global Services and CFO Derica Rice. Shah has been the global brand development leader for immunology since 2013. She joined Lilly in 1994 as a senior statistician after completing her doctorate in applied statistics from the University of California, Riverside. During her career at Lilly, she has held many technical and administrative leadership positions, both in the United States and abroad, including serving as vice president for biometrics and advanced analytics and as executive director of global information sciences. Shah serves on the board of directors for the Indianapolis Public Library Foundation and Center for Interfaith Cooperation and on the Executive Advisory Council for the Healthcare Businesswoman's Association (HBA) Indiana Chapter. She received the 2011 Rising Star Award from Healthcare Businesswoman's Association (HBA).

In the context of the spread of cognitive technologies, Straight Talk Featured Blogger Tom Davenport has called executives like Dr. Shah “purple people,” those who possess a mix of business and technology skills and can speak the language of both business and technology.

In other recent appointments and career moves:

United Technologies has appointed Vince Campisi as senior vice president, Digital, and CIO, reporting to president and CEO Gregory Hayes. He succeeds Nancy Davis, who will retire at the end of this year, concluding a 37-year career at UTC. Previously, Campisi served as COO for GE Digital, where he was responsible for cybersecurity, business and cloud operations, with a focus on delivering software and analytics-based outcomes to boost productivity and customer value. He has been with GE since 1999, advancing through leadership roles in software development, information technology, quality and operations.

JPMorgan Chase & Co has promoted Lori Beer to the position of CIO for corporate and investment banking, replacing Mark Ashton-Rigby who left recently for Barclays. Beer has been the company’s CIO for banking since 2014. Previously, she has worked at health benefits company Anthem for 15 years.

Airbus Group SE has promoted Paul Eremenko to the position of CTO, reporting to CEO Tom Enders. Eremenko will continue to run the Group’s A3 Innovation Centre based in San Jose, California. Previously, Eremenko has worked at Google, Motorola and DARPA, the Pentagon’s research agency. In April, Airbus Group has promoted Marc Fontaine to the position of Digital Transformation Officer (DTO), also reporting to the CEO. Fontaine is focusing on the operational deployment of digital projects that have demonstrated superior business value within the company’s divisions and functions. Airbus launched the Silicon Valley innovation center and its corporate venture capital arm in May 2015. The center’s mission, according to its website, is to “build the future of flight now, by disrupting Airbus Group and its competitors before someone else does.”

Informatica has appointed Graeme Thompson as senior vice president and CIO, reporting to executive vice president and CFO Doug Barnett. Previously, Thompson was vice president of Global IT End User Services at Oracle. Prior to Oracle, he has held senior IT posts at BEA Systems Inc. and Riverstone Networks Inc.

Medallia, a global Customer Experience Management (CEM) company, has appointed Ashwin Ballal as the company’s first CIO, reporting to CFO Mike Kourey.  Ballal had been Chief Information, Intelligence, and Data Officer for KLA-Tencor KLAC. He received the CIO 100 award from CIO magazine in 2013 among other awards. Previously, Ballal held executive positions in KLA-Tencor’s Engineering, Operations, Sales, and Marketing divisions, including serving as General Manager of a Product division and as President and Managing Director of KLA-Tencor India.

Welding equipment maker Lincoln Electric Co. has promoted Michele R. Kuhrt to the position of executive vice president and CIO, reporting to Chairman, President and CEO Christopher Mapes. Outgoing CIO Gabe Bruno moves to the position of senior vice president and chief human resources officer. Previously, Kuhrt was senior vice president, Tax with responsibility for Lincoln Electric’s global tax matters and the U.S. payroll shared services center.  Prior to joining Lincoln Electric, she was with Elsag Bailey Process Automation (a unit of ABB) and Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

Premier Inc. has promoted Leigh Anderson to the position of senior vice president and CIO, reporting to COO Michael J. Alkire. Previously, Anderson was chief operating officer for information and technology services at Premier, and before that served in lead informatics roles at Hospital Corporation of America, Health Trust, Global Healthcare Exchange (GHX) and AT&T.

Professional services and engineering firm KeyLogic Systems, Inc. has appointed J. Kevin Reid as its new vice president of National Security and CIO, reporting to president and CEO Jon Hammock. Previously, Reid was Assistant Director of the IT Infrastructure Division at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In his tenure at the FBI, he also held several senior executive positions including Assistant Director of the IT Applications and Data Division. Reid has received a number of awards including the FBI’s Assistant Director’s awards for Overall Excellence, Excellence in Management and Leadership, as well as industry awards from Government Computer News and Computerworld.

Getty Images has promoted Steve Heck to the position of senior vice president and chief innovation officer, reporting to CEO Dawn Airey. Previously, Heck has served as Getty Images’ CTO. In his new position, Heck will lead a new Innovation Group, a division of experts focused on meeting the media company’s evolving customer needs, as well as exploring further growth and new revenue streams within the consumer market. Getty Images also promoted Nate Gandert to CTO and Jon Miller to CIO.

Temple University has appointed Cindy Leavitt as vice president for computer services and CIO. Previously, Leavitt was at the University of Michigan, where she held senior information systems positions for the past 14 years.

The City of San Jose has appointed Rob Lloyd as CIO, reporting to City Manager Norberto Dueñas. Previously, Lloyd was CIO of the city of Avondale, Arizona. San Jose’s IT department has an annual operating budget of $21 million and 83 employees. It is currently upgrading its budget, personnel, financial management, planning and permitting systems.

Trinity Industries has appointed W. Relle Howard as vice president and CIO. Previously, Howard was vice president of Information Technology at Flowserve Corporation and before that has worked for Celanese Chemicals and Alcatel.

Supermarket chain Smart & Final has appointed Edward Wong as CIO and senior vice president and CIO, supply chain, reporting to president and CEO Dave Hirz. Previously, Wong spent six years with IBM as a partner in its global business services division.

Valley National Bank has appointed Robert J. Bardusch as executive vice president and CIO, reporting to senior executive vice president and COO Peter Crocitto. Bardusch has more than two decades of financial technology leadership experience.


The thyssenkrupp Group has appointed Dr. Martin Hölz CIO and head of the corporate function Group Processes & Information Technology (GPI).

Colgate University has appointed Steve Fabiani as vice president and CIO.

Betts Spring Company has appointed Jonathan Lee as CTO.

Kaleida Health has appointed Cletis Earle as CIO.

Examination Management Services, Inc. (EMSI) has appointed Patrick Horne as CIO.

GasBuddy has appointed Max Metral as CTO.

Stater Bros. Markets has appointed Gil Salazar as VP of information technology.