From CIO to CEO

Yvonne Wassenaar, former CIO at New Relic Inc., has been appointed CEO of drone services company Airware. She joined Airware as COO in May as potential successor to company founder and outgoing CEO Jonathan Downey, but “seeing her strength and conviction as a leader over the last few months made it clear that now is the time for this transition,” Downey wrote in a post.

A CEO that’s spent time in a technology executive’s shoes can help the company set strategic priorities as it seeks out new enterprise customers, Wassenaar told CIO Journal. “I’m bullish on the value the business-minded CIO can bring,” she said. “As business becomes technology-driven versus technology-enabled, the opportunity has never been greater.” Added Gartner analyst Graham Waller: “Well-respected, progressive CIOs with business acumen are increasingly well-positioned to step into more of these roles.”

Straight Talk Featured Blogger Peter High has tracked the careers of a number of CIOs who moved into positions with broader responsibilities, including Wassenaar. “Serving as a CIO has given me deep empathy for what enterprise customers will be looking for Airware to deliver as we partner with these Fortune 1000 companies and work to digitize their businesses,” Wassenaar told High. also recently reported on CIOs “leveling up, latching on to more lucrative roles either within their own companies or elsewhere.” Quoting George Westerman’s new adage "There’s never been a better time to be a great CIO, and there’s never been a worse time to be an average one," highlights great CIOs ability to “orchestrate a complex symphony of technology implementations to achieve business outcomes.”

In other recent appointments and career moves:

Federal Communications Commission’s CIO (and Straight Talk Featured Blogger) David Bray has been appointed as chief ventures officer of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Bray, who has served as CIO at the FCC for the past four years, will lead the intelligence agency’s new Office of Ventures and Innovation, serving as its “internal and external venture capitalist.”

BNY Mellon has appointed Bridget Engle as Senior Executive Vice President and CIO reporting to CEO Gerald Hassell. Previously, Engle has served as senior IT executive with AT&T, Lehman Brothers, Barclays Capital, DTCC and Bank of America.

Dollar General has appointed Carman Wenkoff as executive vice president and CIO, reporting to Todd Vasos, Dollar General’s chief executive officer. Previously, Wenkoff was CIO and chief digital officer at Subway restaurants.

Tyson Foods has appointed hired Scott Spradley as chief technology officer, leading the company’s IT team and reporting to President and CEO Tom Hayes. Previously, Spradley was CIO at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and led North American shared services at Chevron.

La-Z-Boy has appointed that David Behen as Vice President and CIO, reporting to Kurt Darrow, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. Previously, Behen was the State of Michigan CIO and Vice President and CIO of GDI Infotech and Co-founder of Infoready Corporation, a spin-off of GDI.

The City of San Francisco has appointed Linda Gerull as its new Director of the Department of Technology and CIO. Previously, Gerull served as IT Director for Pierce County in Washington.


The U.S. Airforce has appointed Bradford Shwedo as CIO.

The Apache Corporation has promoted Mark D. Maddox from Vice President, Information Technology to VP & CIO.

The city of Aurura, IL., has appointed Michael R. Pegues as CIO.

Estes Park Medical Center has promoted Gary Hall to the role of CIO.

Chippenham, England-based Wincanton has appointed Richard Gifford as CIO.

Zerto has appointed Avi Raichel as CIO.

Clemson University has appointed Russell Kaurloto as CIO.

London, England-based Liberty Mutual Insurance Europe has appointed Max Gibbs as CTO & Head of Information Technology.

Paris, France-based Malakoff Mederic has appointed Eric Vaudaine as Group CIO.

The California Institute of Technology has appointed Jin Chang as CIO.