CTO to CEO: Myles Ward is new healthAllliance chief

CTO to CEO: Myles Ward is new healthAllliance chief

The Inland Revenue Department CTO takes the top role at the shared services organisation in November.

Myles Ward
Myles Ward

Myles Ward, chief technology officer at Inland Revenue Department, is the new CEO at healthAlliance.

Ward will join one of the country’s largest shared services organisation on November 16.

healthAlliance Board chair David Clarke announced the appointment last week, citing Ward’s more than 15 years of senior leadership experience. "healthAlliance is at an important point of change, and we look forward to Myles’ creative drive and leadership," said Clarke in a letter announcing the appointment..

Ward has been CTO at IRD for nearly three years, and before this was its GM IT operations and services.

He joined IRD in July 2006 as IT manager, a role he held for over four years. He came from Westpac, where he was head of business management.

He is no stranger to the complexities of the health sector having previously spent some time working in the Disability directorate

Most recently, his senior executive role as the CTO of IRD has been primarily focused on the strategic direction of IRD and the technology aspects of IRD’s large scale business transformation, according to Clarke.

“Coupled with a background in operating large scale and complex ICT environments and a record of successfully delivering large scale technology related change, Myles also brings to the role an extensive private and public sector network.

“As well as significant IT and ICT experience, Myles brings strategic and business planning, operational experience, and a passion for customers and people. He brings a drive for innovation and a spirit of collaboration to the role.”

“He is also no stranger to the complexities of the health sector having previously spent some time working in the Disability directorate,” the letter stated.

Ward has a business degree from Massey University, and a Masters of Public Administration through Monash and Victoria University.

healthAlliance is jointly owned by four northern region district health boards: Northland, Waitemata, Auckland, and Counties Manukau Health.

healthAlliance provides IT and non-clinical services for the four Northern district health boards. In July 2014, it started providing procurement services to all 20 district health boards.

It has also recently appointed a new CIO, Kevin Robinson, who was the interim CIO following the resignation of Claire Govier in April this year.

The 273-strong IT team at healthAlliance, spread over eight locations, manages one of the country’s largest IT environments. It is number three in this year’s CIO100, the annual report on the top ICT using organisations in New Zealand.

According to the report, its ICT team manages 26,416 screens, and supports over 27,500 DHB staff across 10 hospital sites, 94 community sites and 266 dental sites.

In July, another government ICT executive made a similar career move – Stephen Crombie who became CEO of Education Payroll Limited. EPL is the government company formed to take over the management of the schools’ payroll service following the Novopay incident.

Matt O’Mara, now chief executive at Stratford District Council, is also among the growing number of CIOs and CTOs who have moved to CEO roles. His previous roles include chief information and technology officer at Central Agency Shared Services of the New Zealand Treasury and CIO at Careers New Zealand.

Peter Thomas, now Fuji Xerox general manager, came from government, where he was deputy chief executive corporate services at Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. His previous roles included general manager at Westpac, New Zealand Defence Force as CIO, GM organisational support at the Navy, GM strategic programs at the NZDF.

Read more: ​Fletcher Building appoints CIO

Related: CIO to CEO: Career advice from Rob Fyfe

A 'helicopter view' of the organisation

Andre Mendes, interim CEO and Director at Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) in the US and a former CIO, believes this career ascent is due to the fact that the CIO has a “helicopter view” of the company that very few other people enjoy.

The ERP, CRM and e-commerce implementations CIOs work on are “the entire technology strata of a company”, he told<i>CIO New Zealand.</i>

“What you have is a realm in which the CIO is now very, very comfortable because they have had to implement enterprise systems in all of those areas. That helicopter view provides them with an understanding of the business at large including the external, the suppliers, to supply chain environments and downstream, the retailers and distributors,” said Mendes.

“That provides unique fodder for a CIO to be an operations leader and eventually, the organisation’s leader.”

Basil Botoulas, vice president and general manager, ANZ, Hitachi Data Systems, also said the next generation of CEOs will come from the ranks of current chief information officers.

“The best CIOs will be the CEOs of tomorrow,” said Boutulas. While he points out that a number of technology companies now have CEOs who have this background, he believes this career ascent will also apply to CIOs in other sectors.

These are the CIOs that are currently working on data analytics pulled from the Internet of Things, he stated, referring to the rise of connected devices.

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