Technology Officers

IOPener Europe, July 2013

IT Function - Commentary and Moves

During the first half of 2013, Russell Reynolds Associates ran CIO events in every region, starting in the US in February, Hong Kong and Singapore in March and finishing with an event at the Apple Store in Covent Garden, London in May. The theme for each event focused on how the role of the CIO is changing in these highly digital times, as well as how you motivate, recruit and retain staff in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world.

The feedback from these events was hugely consistent across all of the geographies. The three key themes that resonated were:

  • development of people
  • the challenge of innovation
  • the role of the IT function

Development of People: A Recognised Skills Gap

During the CIO events, we presented findings of our 2013 ‘IT Leadership Skills Survey’ which was a unique study conducted with IT functions about IT functions. A lot has been written about external views of IT skills but Russell Reynolds Associates wanted the perspective of current and future leaders who understood the function. The big takeaways were:

  1. The biggest skills gaps exist in ‘People Leadership, Relationships and Influence’.
  2. The biggest skills gaps exist in the most important competencies. 68% of respondents marked ‘People Leadership’ as one of the top 2 competencies needed in IT leaders. Conversely only 19% put the same competency in the top 2 being present in their IT Leaders.

The Challenge of Innovation: Technology is Everywhere, but there is Still the Need for Leadership in IT

In Asia in particular, there was recognition that the pace of innovation is higher than ever. The CIOs commented that most of them believe this pace is ‘the new normal’ in technology, meaning a CIO role written in 2005 is no longer the role of the CIO today. They need to strike the right balance between control, security, risk management and innovation.

The new CIO needs to be a partner with the business to maximise this IT spend, with partnering and influence becoming key skills over and above technical excellence.

IOPener Europe July 2013, Russell Reynolds Associates 

The Role of the IT Function: Why Communication Skills are Needed More than Ever

The single biggest challenge discussed in every country was articulating the role of the IT Function within the business. Cloud based services mean the traditional services offered by the IT Function are now just a credit card away or perceived to be free. Deploy CRM in the cloud for $50 per user. Deploy cloud storage and email for free.

The future of the role lies not in deploying more innovative technology, but in partnering with the business to deliver IT, adding value to the business and improving the customer experience. Some IT Functions with the permission and ability have gone on to generate revenue for their business, for example at Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, the CIO partnered with the marketing team to create a loyalty scheme driven by analytics and deliver tablets to all outlets to help manage customer waiting times and sign them up to the loyalty scheme. Click here to read more about this scheme.

At Toyota, Zack Hicks has grasped the enabling technologies to move away from worrying about server upgrades and email versions.

"I asked my team to start looking at more cloud solutions so we could get out of managing the servers and the upgrades. This way, we could continue our focus on customer service and the type of innovation we can provide to our customers" - Zack Hicks, Chief Information Officer, Toyota North America. Read more here


IOPening Moves and Changes (October 2012 – June 2013)


Telekom Austria | Telekom Austria has appointed Gunther Ottendorfer CTO. He was previously a Managing Director at Optus Networks.


Mazda - Mazda has appointed Alex Janssens CIO.

MIVB/STIB | MIVB/STIB has appointed Pierre-Andre Rulmont VP Information Systems. Rulmont was formerly CIO/CTO of Belgacom.

Swift | Swift has appointed Juliette Kennel Head of Market Infrastructures.


LEO Express | LEO Express has appointed I’Vaclav Henzl IT Director.


Sanoma | Sanoma has appointed Mikael Nurmi CIO. Nurmi was formerly CIO at Tamro Group.


Axa | Dirk Marzluf, former CEO of Technology Services has been appointed CIO at Axa.

Nerim | Nerim has appointed Olivier Lompre, Jaguar’s former Regional Manger, CTO.


Osram | Osram has appointed Peter Laier CTO. Laier was formerly with Continental in Germany.

Telefonica | Telefonica Germany has appointed Martin Skop CTO. Skop was formerly CTO of Telefonica Slovakia and Czech Republic.

Voith Hydro | Voith Hydro has appointed Norbert Riedel CTO, in charge of the Central Technology Department, also covering R&D activities.

Wunderman | Wunderman has appointed Klaus Weigand CTO. He joins from Etecture.


AbbVie | AbbVie has appointed Danilo Talamo CIO. Talamo was formerly at J&J as IT Director of the Mediterranean Cluster.

Brembo | Brembo has appointed Giorgio Ascanelli CTO. Ascanelli formerly worked for Scuderia Toro Rosso.

Generali | Generali has appointed Carsten Schildknecht Global COO of the asset and wealth management division. Schildknecht was previously Global COO of the Wealth Management division of Deutsche Bank for 8 years and, most recently, was Germany COO of Asset & Wealth Management and Chairman of the supervisory board of Sal. Oppenheim.

Nikhil Srinivasan has been appointed CIO. Srinivasan previously worked in Allianz Group from 2003, holding several investment functions. He has been Group CIO of Allianz Investment Management and a member of Allianz’s International Executive Committee.

Poste Italiane | Poste Italiane has appointed Fabrizio Virtuani IT Director. A former partner at Bain, he replaces Agostino Ragosa, who joins the Government Digital Agency as CEO.


Ahold | Ben Wishart joins Ahold as Group CIO. Wishart will report to Jeff Carr, CFO, and will be based at Ahold’s Corporate Centre in the Netherlands. He joins from Morrisons plc and previously Whitbread plc.

Arcadis | Arcadis, management and engineering consultancy, has appointed Gerard Spans CIO. He was formerly CIO at Rexam.

ING | Ron van Kemenade has been promoted to CIO of ING Bank.

NXP | Olli Hyyppä joins NXP as CIO. Hyyppä will report to the EVP Operations and will be based at NXP’s headquarters in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. He comes from ST-Ericsson in Geneva.


Telenor Group | Telenor Group has appointed Rolv-Erik Spilling Group Head of Digital Services.


ThyssenKrupp | ThyssenKrupp has appointed Hans-Günter Mühleck CIO, replacing Hans Günter Gaul, who will be heading ThyssenKrupp IT Services. Mühleck was previously Head of IT for Volkswagen.

Sanitas | Sanitas has appointed Pedro Cano CIO. He will continue with his former role as CTO of Sanitas Residencial. Cano joined Sanitas in 1999.


Cisco Poland | Lukazs Bromirski has been appointed CTO at Cisco Poland.

Eurocash | Eurocash has appointed Artur Groszek Group IT Director.

JSC Inter RAO UES Group | JSC Inter RAO UES Group has appointed Dmitry Altukhov CIO. Altukhov was formerly Director of Business Processes with Rimera Group.


Gyros | Gyros has appointed Henrik Björkman CTO and VP Technical Affairs. Björkman was formerly Director Microcal R&D at GE Healthcare.

Zenterio | Zenterio has appointed Mats Lindoff CTO. Lindoff was formerly Sony Ericsson’s CTO.


Barry Callebaut | Peter Boone has become Chief Innovation Officer at chocolate maker Barry Callebaut.

DNB | DNB has appointed Liv Fiksdahl Group Executive Vice President IT and Operations replacing Cathrine Klouman. Prior to this, Fiksdahl held customer-oriented positions in Union Bank of Norway, Handelsbanken and Fokus Bank.

Swiss Federal Tax Administration | The Swiss Federal Tax Administration has appointed Dirk Lindemann CIO.


Asda | Asda has appointed Phil Tenney CIO. Tenney was previously IT Services Director at Morrisons plc.

Aviva | Aviva has appointed Phil Pavitt IT Transformation Director. He was formerly General Director of Change at HMRC.

Bank of Ireland | Bank of Ireland has appointed Ronnie Nolan Head of Strategy, Architecture and Innovation. Nolan will be responsible for leading innovation and sponsoring initiatives to gain advantages from emerging business and technology developments. He was most recently Chief Architect at Mysis joining the company after its acquisition of BankFusion, where he was also Chief Architect.

Barclays | Barclays has promoted Shaygan Kheradpir to Chief Operations and Technology Officer, with responsibility for driving the development of new products and services for the banking group. Kheradpir moved from his joint role of CIO and CTO at Verizon Communications to join Barclays in 2011, taking up his position as COO for the bank’s retail and business banking division.

Co-op Food | Co-op Food has appointed Howard Reed Food Chief Information Officer. Reed was formerly IT and Change Director with New Look.

Daisy Group | Former CTO at 2e2, Nathan Marke, has joined Daisy Group, lprovider of business communications, as CTO.

Digit Game Studio | Digit Game Studio has appointed Dominque Boutin CTO. Boutin was previously Technical Director for Bigpoint.

Hult International | Rob Mason, former International CIO of Ticketmaster, has joined Hult International Business School. Hult is a division of Education First, and Mason will help drive the business’ digital strategy and unify the IT function globally.

News International | Chris Taylor, interim CIO at media company News International, has been appointed to the permanent position of CIO.

P&G | P&G has appointed Jose Botto CIO replacing Dave Ubachs. Botto has been with P&G for 12 years.

Panalpina | Panalpina has appointed Roderick Angwin CIO.

Primark | Primark has appointed John Lister CIO. Lister was formerly CIO of Specsavers.

Proffice | Proffice has apointed Bjorn Ovar Johansson CIO.

Royal Bank of Scotland | Royal Bank of Scotland has appointed Scott Marcar CIO of Markets within the Markets & International Banking division.

RSA | Rod Alderton, former ITD at Axa, has been appointed CIO Personal Lines at RSA.

Selfridges | Jonathan Summerfield has been appointed Director of IT of Selfridges. Summerfield was previously with Ladbrokes.

Superdry | Keith Riley, former IT Director at Primark, has been appointed IT Director for SuperGroup plc, a British international branded clothing company, and owner of the Superdry label.

Thomas Cook | Tomasz Smaczny has joined Thomas Cook as CTO. Smaczny joins from Cathay Pacific where he was CIO.

UBM | UBM has appointed Richard Piercy CIO, joining the company from EMI Music, where he served as EVP.

UK Mail | Tony Smollett has joined UK Mail as Group IT Head. He joins from Albemarle and Bond Holdings where he was Head of IT and took responsibility for all strategic and operational aspects of IT.

Vodafone | Karine Brunet has joined Vodafone Group as Group Head of IS Transformation. She was previously with Steria as IT Service Line Director and excom member.

Amrita Gangotra has joined Vodafone UK as Head of Enterprise Technology, leaving her post as IT Director & CIO at Bharti Airtel.

Russell Reynolds Associates is a global leader in assessment, recruitment and succession planning for Chief Executive Officers, boards of directors, and key roles within the C-suite. With more than 300 consultants in 41 offices around the world, we work closely with both public and private organizations across all industries and regions. We help our clients build boards and executive teams that can meet the challenges and opportunities presented by the digital, economic, environmental and political trends that are reshaping the global business environment. Follow us on Twitter: @RRAonLeadership


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IOPener Europe, July 2013