Starbucks Appoints Gerri Martin-Flickinger as its First CTO

Starbucks Corporation has appointed Gerri Martin-Flickinger as its first CTO, to lead its push into digital ordering and other online activities. In this role, Martin-Flickinger will lead the global IT function and play a key role in shaping the technology agenda across the Starbucks business. She joins Starbucks from Adobe where she was Senior Vice President and CIO, playing a key role in enabling Adobe’s transformation to a cloud-based business.

In the U.S., 20% of transactions are now made using mobile devices, up from 9% two years ago and Starbucks has been responding to this rapid shift in its customers’ preferences. Last year, Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz announced that he was expanding his role to be more involved in the company’s digital retailing initiatives. Starbucks digital transformation has resulted in new deals with tech companies and the recruitment of tech-savvy executives. In January, Starbucks hired Kevin Johnson, former Juniper Networks CEO, to be its President and Chief Operating Officer (COO).

Martin-Flickinger has been a tech executive for her entire career. Prior to Adobe, she was CIO of VeriSign, and before that, CIO of Network Associates and McAfee Associates. At Starbucks, she will assume the responsibilities of outgoing CIO Curt Garner (see below for his new position), but she will play a greater role in shaping the company’s technology agenda, with Starbucks emphasizing the word “technology” in the title.

Earlier this year, Martin-Flickinger told Straight Talk Featured Blogger Peter High: “…so much of what a good IT professional has to do is be able to integrate… people, systems, data… A really successful IT professional today isn’t about a specific piece of technology they know very well, it’s how they can bring things together… the skill set is very different, we see people that are much more integration oriented, much less hard core technologists in specific products.”

As demand for tech-savvy senior executives has grown, so has CIO pay—up 30% to 40% since 2012, according to executive recruiter and consulting firm Korn/Ferry International. But in a departure from traditional IT compensation measures, many technology leaders are now being held to the same financial metrics as CEOs, including return on invested capital and earnings.

In other recent appointments and career moves:

Chipotle Mexican Grill has appointed Curt Garner as its first CIO. Previously, he was CIO at Starbucks, where he worked for 18 years in the company’s IT group. Prior to joining Starbucks, Garner held a technology leadership position at Wendy’s International.

Burberry has appointed Fumbi Chima as CIO, reporting to COO John Smith. Previously, she was Corporate VP and CIO for Walmart Asia and has held IT and technology positions at AMEX and JP Morgan. She was recently selected as a member of the United Nations' Digital taskforce, working to address the digital economy in Asia.

The State of Arizona has appointed Morgan Reed as CIO, replacing Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Mike Lettman, who has been acting CIO since January. Previously he worked at Expedia,, Intel, and Wells Fargo.

The State of Utah has promoted Mike Hussey to CIO and executive director of the Department of Technology Services, replacing retiring Mark VanOrden. He will lead the expansion of Utah’s Big Data initiative aimed at aggregating tax, business applications, drivers’ license and other data – often stored by separate agencies in incompatible formats – into a single, accessible and sharable format.

Silicon Valley Bank, the subsidiary and commercial banking operation of SVB Financial Group, has promoted Roger Leone to the position of CIO, reporting to CEO Greg Becker. Leone will help the bank integrate a new API banking platform as the bank builds out its digital platform strategy. Once the APIs are launched, Silicon Valley Bank’s clients will be able to integrate core payments functions directly into their own back-office financial systems. Prior to joining SVB, Leone held senior IT leadership roles at Pfizer and Bank of America.

The State of Indiana has promoted Dewand Neely to the position of CIO and Director of the Indiana Office of Technology. Paul Baltzell, the outgoing CIO, is leaving to work at Mainstreet, a national real estate company based in Carmel, Indiana, that specializes in development, investments and health solutions.


Papa John’s International, the world’s third-largest pizza company, has promoted John Smith from Senior Director, Application Development, to Vice President, Enterprise Systems & Services.

Product and service lifecycle management company PTC has appointed Abbas Faiq as CIO.

L’Oreal USA, the U.S. subsidiary of the Paris-based cosmetics and beauty company, has promoted Naveen Jayaraman from Director, IT eCommerce to Associate VP, Global IT.

California-based Pacific Life Insurance has appointed Scott Vassar as Assistant VP, Infrastructure, Architecture & Services.

Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, appointed Michele Norin as Vice President, Information Technology & CIO.

Health Care Service Corporation, consisting of five regional Blue Cross/Blue Shield health plans, has appointed Vugar Zeynalov as Executive Director, Information Security.

California-based Arch Mortgage Insurance has appointed Prashant Nema as CIO.

CHRISTUS Health, a non-profit health care company, has appointed Fernando Blanco as Chief Information Security Officer (CISO).

Retailer SUPERVALU has appointed Sandra (Sandy) Caravelli as Director, Security, Governance, and Risk & Compliance.

Applied Materials, providing equipment, service and software products for the fabrication of semiconductor chips, has promoted Kannan Perumal from Senior Director, Information Security & Risk Management to Chief Information Security Officer (CISO).

Retailer Total Wine & More has appointed Bill Baumann as the Senior VP and CIO.