Feature: 20 leaders to watch

Feature: 20 leaders to watch

Our 20 Ones to Watch honourees bring business acumen, technical skill and passion to their drive for leadership. Simon Benzekri, 38

Manager of Information Services

Penson Financial Services Canada

"IT has the potential to regularly reward firms that deliver true business value from focused innovation."

Part of what distinguishes a leader from a follower is a vision for the future. At Penson, Simon Benzekri inherited a complex billing system project that faced technical, philosophical and architectural challenges. He articulated a vision to address these issues and drove the project to a successful end. Benzekri also led an initiative to make better business cases and to measure ROI for all the company's IT initiatives. Additionally, he created in-house teams to improve performance in areas such as operational support, advanced Web development and architecture by putting more focus on products and services. According to Mo Hirani, CIO of Penson, Benzekri has an "uncanny ability to lead his team and convey a vision for success."

Simon Benzekri on the importance of learning from a mistake. Listen to the audio clip at

Rick Broughton, 40

Director, IT Strategy

Dunkin Brands

"My mentors have taught me that it's not as important to be the smartest one in the room as it is to be capable of leading the smartest ones into the room." During his career, Rick Broughton has held VP-level roles in business development, operations, sales and marketing that honed his understanding of business processes. These experiences, plus a deep knowledge of IT, have contributed to his success at Dunkin' Brands, where he has taken on an enterprisewide ERP implementation involving back-office, revenue and customer-facing activities--the largest IT initiative the company has ever embarked on. The project's first phases resulted in streamlined processes and significant top-line growth. Broughton also created a new function--the IT portfolio manager--to manage and measure projects and other business initiatives as well as to leverage project investments already made by the company.

Rick Broughton on the patience and passion required to become a CIO. Listen to the audio clip at

Matt Coose, 36

Director, Engineering and PMO

Department of Homeland Security

"IT can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our efforts to create a safe, secure and ­prepared nation."

As a Six Sigma Black Belt at General Electric, Matt Coose managed business-improvement initiatives and developed strategies with the senior management team. He brought his Six Sigma expertise to the table at DHS, where he developed process improvements for the Electronic Commerce Mapping team, reducing cycle time by 74 percent and providing more efficient customer service. Coose also created an IT PMO and engineering division from the ground up, establishing structure and process around mission-critical project delivery. CIO Charles Church says Coose thoroughly understands business, technology and people, and knows how to bring them together to create value.

Matt Coose on a lesson learned about balancing effectiveness and speed. Listen to the audio clip at

Cigdem Delano, 44

Deputy Executive Director

Georgia Technology Authority

"My mentor taught me to trust my instincts and to stay attuned to the details of my business--no matter my position."

Cigdem Delano's leadership roles inside and outside IT have provided her with the expertise she applies to projects at the Georgia Technology Authority (GTA). One of those projects was the development of a portfolio management process so GTA and the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget could make joint decisions about IT projects. She also created the Critical Projects Review Panel, bringing together top state officers to monitor those projects. The panel, a first for Georgia, keeps a keen watch over the state's IT operations and budget and reports directly to the governor.

Cigdem Delano on what it takes to succeed as a CIO. Listen to the audio clip at

Russell Douglas, 46

Director, Integration and Operations

Aviall Services

"Technology is a paradox. The more you learn, the less you realize you know. That ­paradox has existed for me since I've been in computing." The courage to take risks to help a company innovate is a key element of leadership. Russell Douglas rose to the test in 2005, when he formed and led a team of business and technical experts that was instrumental in the implementation of a new ERP system--the most complex project in Aviall's 70-year history. When the system was first tested, data migration took 96 hours. Russell's process management and technical skills--combined with the confidence to take some risks--helped him to reduce migration time to 12 hours, saving the company millions of dollars.

Russell Douglas on the most valuable learning experience of his career. Listen to the audio clip at

Michael Fuqua, 46

Senior VP, Strategic Development

Global Crossing

"IT has a direct impact on the dynamics of a business and a bottom-line impact on ­operational efficiencies and ­revenue creation." During Global Crossing's turnaround, Michael Fuqua not only directed the restructuring and consolidation of the company's data centers from nine to seven; he was a driving force behind a 78 percent reduction in IT costs since 2002. He also successfully delivered retail and wholesale system platforms for the first local exchange carrier to open its markets to competition, a task that required replacing staff, setting the direction of call center technologies, and designing and implementing new operational business models. CIO Daniel Wagner lauds him as an undisputed leader of IT who is respected throughout the business.

Michael Fuqua on the positive learning experience of taking on risk. Listen to the audio clip at

Gina Garza, 51

Deputy Associate CIO, Business Integration


"When I get to see the business transformed through IT, I know that I've made things better for employees and our customers."

Gina Garza has played a key role in recent IRS improvements. She led a nationwide task force to consolidate the agency's call centers, which encompassed 34 locations and 26,000 workers and affected 200 million taxpayers. This effort decreased operating costs, enabled operational efficiencies by consolidating workload and allowed more efficient delivery of technology at fewer sites. Through the initiation of a requirements management office, Garza created a consistent approach to the development of project requirements. Another of her initiatives was use of imaging technology to manage the high volume of correspondence received by the IRS. This system reduced cycle time and set the architectural standard for the IRS.

Gina Garza on what a mistake in managing a contractor taught her. Listen to the audio clip at

Dean Hall, 45

Project Management Executive


"IT has the potential to be used for extreme good or evil. Our duty is to enable the former and defend against the latter."

FBI CIO Zalmai Azmi says that Dean Hall's ability to provide realistic solutions that meet the needs of the organization stems from creativity and a strong business understanding. One of Hall's major accomplishments is the creation of a regional data exchange system that improves search and trend analysis capabilities for law enforcement agencies. The system, part of a larger information-sharing system, allows investigators to review a greater number of cases in a shorter period, making it easier for them to identify significant trends and improve operational efficiency.

Dean Hall on a mistake that triggered the most valuable lesson of his career. Listen to the audio clip at

Tyrone Howard, 36

Project Management Office Manager

City of Chandler, Ariz.

"IT has an unlimited impact on our lives. The exciting part about it is we have only scratched the surface: business, learning, ­recreation and, just as important, ideas and ­imagination." Tyrone Howard is a catalyst and enabler when it comes to IT, according to Chandler CIO Marilyn Delmont. Howard established a new IT governance process and developed a model to promote an idea-management method to help the city's IT oversight committee elicit comment and govern projects. He established a project management office, overcoming initial staff resistance and a backlog of projects to create a world-class PMO in just two years. Howard also successfully led the implementation of a Web-based, interactive GIS map of existing and planned city facilities.

Tyrone Howard on what he learned from a project management mistake. Listen to the audio clip at

Tom Lindblom, 46

VP and CTO

CKE Restaurants

"I love IT because we provide tools and actionable information that enable outstanding customer service and financial results."

Tom Lindblom not only spearheaded the design and execution of communication facilities that provide broadband service to 1,000 CKE locations, but he did it while simultaneously reducing the annual budget associated with the project by 50 percent. Lindblom is no stranger to leadership responsibilities. When CIO Jeff Chasney's corporate strategic planning duties were consuming most of his time, Lindblom stepped up and took over all strategic and execution responsibilities associated with IT infrastructure. Perhaps that, along with his ability to ensure the stability of the organization's IT efforts, is one reason Chasney considers Lindblom his co-CIO.

Larry Markson, 45

Director of Clinical Applications

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

"By giving providers a level of information and decision support that was previously unimaginable, IT can transform patient care." Dedicated IT staff members describe Dr. Larry Markson as the best manager they have ever had. Markson is credited with executing many of the projects that have made Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) an IT leader in the health-care industry. As one of the most wired hospitals in the country, it has achieved 75 percent adoption of electronic health records, improving the quality of patient care and reducing costs for the hospital. Markson also leads the ePrescribing initiative, which links BIDMC's clinical systems with pharmacies throughout Massachusetts. CIO John Halamka says Markson's work means 80 percent of prescriptions issued by BIDMC will be electronic in June.

Chase McCarthy, 43

Manager, Group Internal Information Systems, Madrid

Amadeus IT Group SA

"IT has the potential to change tomorrow."

One of Chase McCarthy's strengths is the ability to execute, whether it's through the teams he manages or his own personal projects. According to Amadeus CIO Richard Edwards, McCarthy "has the ability to look into the IT organization and see not just what needs to be done, but how to go about achieving it." McCarthy worked with marketing to develop a one-to-one extranet for the company's 350-plus airline customers that provided them with personal access to customer billing and MIS data, while helping to cut costs at Amadeus. His most recent accomplishment was the quick delivery of a corporate content management system to meet the relaunch of the company's more than 100 websites last October.

Chase McCarthy on the importance of reshuffling a team in order to solve a problem. Listen to the audio clip at

Pablo Molina, 37

Campus CIO

Georgetown University Law Center

"Technology can reduce the digital divide among educational institutions and students in ­different parts of the world."

As an IT innovator, Pablo Molina has led his team through the development of webcasting, streaming, podcasting and other multimedia services at Georgetown University to move it into distance learning and to expand the audience and impact of high-profile events. By combining the resources of the network and telecommunications teams, Molina also pioneered the use of enterprise voice-over-IP telephone systems and comprehensive wireless networks in higher education. He has also worked on secured e-commerce projects at the university such as the admissions portal, online applications and continuing education registration, which have generated millions of dollars in fees and served millions of Web visitors.

Craig Page, 49

Senior VP, Enterprise Data Center

First Data Corp.

"People and technology come together through IT. Without both, the future would be bleak; together, the future is very bright."

CIO Guy Battista describes Craig Page as a "tireless leader who is dedicated to his people and his customers, and is driven to bring value." At First Data Corp., Page manages enterprise data centers across Europe and Middle Eastern Asia that support 30,000 employees and handle millions of consumer transactions daily. While spending six weeks working out of London, Page discovered the data center there was not well-respected by the business. He worked to develop relationships with the U.K. business and to gain the trust and respect of technologists there. Page is in touch with this team on a daily basis to discuss projects and to help members become better partners with the business.

Craig Page on the three qualities that make a CIO successful. Listen to the audio clip.

Jim Preston, 41

Deputy CIO, BT Retail

BT Group

"IT is dynamic, challenging and has the power to engender true teamwork across an entire business to deliver customer success."

Jim Preston's rich understanding of business and technology makes him a real asset to BT Group. He has proven himself as a leader; he served as interim CIO for BT Retail during a three-month period. Preston led the implementation of BT Retail's strategic system architecture, ensuring ongoing service and operational support during the transition. The result has been improved cost efficiencies. He also helped the company re-enter the mobile market by assembling a team of internal staff and outside consultants to design, develop and implement a new end-to-end systems stack within nine months.

Jim Preston on why the CIO needs to understand the business to succeed. Listen to the audio clip at

Tonya Ruscoe, 41

Deputy CIO

Holiday Retirement Corp.

"My mentor taught me to care deeply about what you do, but don't get so invested that you lose sight of the bigger picture."

Her ability to empathize with the needs of the business and integrate them with IT is one of the reasons Tonya Ruscoe is considered a natural team builder. She has worked as a programming and development manager as well as a business analyst, so she understands the needs of everyone within the organization. At Holiday, Ruscoe restructured the IT department by creating a series of team-building and goal-setting sessions for employees, improving communication and attitude. Projects are now more successful as a result. Through her leadership of a project that changed the way the company's 300 retirement facilities record and track time, she saved overworked managers many hours and improved payroll accuracy while reducing payroll staff.

Tonya Ruscoe on a learning experience that reshaped her perception of the IT staff. Listen to the audio clip at

Perry Sandberg, 44

VP, Portfolio & Program Management


"IT has the potential to impede or enable the business vision. Ensuring alignment is essential to success for both."

Perry Sandberg strongly believes that ensuring alignment between IT and business is critical to organizational success. His talent for connecting with IT and business employees has helped him turn around runaway projects and implement new ones. One of his accomplishments at AmerisourceBergen was the introduction of a program and portfolio management team, which has played a key part in revitalizing IT and proving its value to the business. CIO Tom Murphy says Sandberg's portfolio and program management team helped a senior VP solve a vexing, five-year problem in two weeks. He calls him the best IT professional he has ever worked with.

Perry Sandberg on how an impossible task became a key learning experience. Listen to the audio clip at

Alex Seefried, 47

IT Program Director, Airborne Early Warning & Early Warning Systems

Northrop Grumman

"Inspiring IT professionals to do great things fulfills their potential, leading the company to reach its potential."

As a pioneering enterprise IT architect, Alex Seefried made his mark at Northrop Grumman almost a decade ago. He established an organizational structure and operating model--still in use today--to integrate the company's technical activity. Seefried also played a major role in repairing and managing the aerospace company's relationship with IBM, critical to the success of its $2 billion Advanced Hawkeye fighter aircraft development program for the U.S. Navy. CIO Art Lofton says Seefried "challenges his organization to drive both process improvement and value to the enterprise." Alex Seefried on the career value of rotating through the business.

Listen to the audio clip at

Ajay Waghray, 44

Vice President

Verizon Wireless

"Technology presents constant opportunities to enable new products and services, simplify business operations and enhance the customer's experience." Ajay Waghray joined Verizon when it was still Bell Atlantic Mobile and has been one of the driving forces behind its transformation. Experiences in billing, sales, and architecture and database structure speak to his versatility and knowledge of business and IT. Waghray's accomplishments include leading efforts to bring in-house an outsourced billing system, which saved the company more than $30 million annually. He led the systems-consolidation effort that helped the company go from 16 major billing systems and more than 150 major systems to two billing systems and 30 major systems in a period of four years. Under his direction, new technologies to improve system performance and reliability have come online. And Waghray has excelled at employee development: Three of the current IT VPs were once his direct reports.

Ajay Waghray on how a mistake taught a valuable lesson. Listen to the audio clip at

Robert Worrall, 45

VP, IT Governance, Acting VP Strategy and ­Architecture

Sun Microsystems

"My mentor taught me that ­technology alone isn't the answer. The power of IT lies in how technology is properly applied to solve business ­problems." Described by CIO William Vass as his most well-rounded IT executive, Robert Worrall has held numerous positions at Sun, including senior executive positions in charge of IT operations and application support, development and architecture. Worrall's accomplishments include creation of the IT governance department: He recruited people from various disciplines to field a team to improve IT through the use of Six Sigma, ITIL and Cobit standards. Under his leadership, the company undertook a portfolio-management approach to IT resources that helped the department shrink spending by more than half during the past six years and return more than $200 million to Sun's bottom line. He is also a permanent member of Sun's Global Sourcing Council, which directs the procurement of billions of dollars of goods and services annually.

Robert Worrall on how an overseas assignment taught him a career lesson. Listen to the audio clip at

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