The End

Plus, Greatest Hits, and a How-To.

Greetings, dear subscribers.

I have to report that I’m discontinuing this newsletter. This is the final issue. I’ve re-evaluated my situation and decided to retire from this endeavor.

I’m very, very sorry to disappoint you, one of the newsletter’s 241 (free) subscribers. Subscribers included CIOs, recruiters, journalists, consultants, and marketers.

I want to especially thank those who shared & promoted the newsletter to others — i.e., spread the word with their endorsements — including Maryfran Johnson, Dan Roberts, Abbie Lundberg, Brook Colangelo, the folks at JM Search, and others who did so without my awareness. Again, I’m sorry to disappoint you all.

NOTE: As a small consolation, at the end of this missive I’ve provided a how-to section, i.e., instructions for how you could find the same kind of digital business “gems” that I did.

Mitch Betts


When I look over the previous 30 issues, my favorite news items include the following:

Digital transformation is changing C-suite relationships. It has led to greater collaboration across the C-suite and greater trust in IT across the business. But digital transformation has also made responsibilities across the C-suite less clear-cut — and perhaps put more distance between the CIO and CFO.

The C-suite has grown over the past six years to accommodate digital business. The size of the average Fortune 100 C-suite has increased 90% since 2013 to include new data and digital leaders. Chief Data Officer is the most popular newcomer in the Fortune 100.

The State of Chief Digital Officers: 65% have been in the role for three years or less; 64% are external hires (presumably those organizations needed an outsider to push digital business in ways that insiders couldn’t); 64% have data scientists reporting to them; 63% report directly to the CEO. And CDOs are an ambitious lot: 42% believe their next job will be a CEO role somewhere.

Nearly two-thirds of C-suite leaders (63%) say that the CIO needs to have better influencing skills, to be an evangelist for digital business.

CMOs struggle with digital transformation due to “short-termism.”

A total of 73 CIOs and other digital-savvy executives were appointed to U.S. corporate boards over the past 12 months — and 48 (or nearly 66%) of those were women, according to my exclusive research.

Whereas a security breach used to be a “scarlet letter” of shame for the CISO, in one survey, 58% of the CISOs agreed that “experiencing a data breach makes a CISO more attractive to other potential employers,” not less, perhaps because they’re better-prepared to manage through a breach.

A successful cyberattack that compromises consumers’ personal data leads to, on average, a loss of 1.1% of the company’s market value, and a drop of 3.2 percentage points in its sales growth rate, according to an academic study.

Most CFOs believe that cyber insurance would cover most or all of the losses that their company would incur in a cyberattack — but they’re wrong.

Three-quarters (77%) of M&A experts have recommended one acquisition target over another based on the strength of the cybersecurity program.

Unpredictable & irregular work schedules — often the result of on-demand labor-scheduling technology — are harmful to the health of hourly retail workers, producing psychological distress, poor sleep quality, and unhappiness.

Execs reveal their 2019 digital plans,” an exclusive summary based on CEO comments during quarterly earnings calls.

General Motors Corp. — in a dramatic IT transformation over the past five years — has gone from 35 different IT outsourcing agreements to zero, according to CIO Randy Mott.

A study shows that retailers’ branded mobile apps are very effective at increasing sales on the retailer’s website and in stores. The apps also increase the rate of returned merchandise, although the increase in sales outweighs the return rates.

Mars Inc. worked on over 55 machine learning projects in 2018, according to Chief Digital Officer Sandeep Dadlani. He said the ultimate goal is having “every Martian — and yes, we call ourselves Martians — every Martian amplified with machine learning.”

Marvin Ellison, the new CEO at Lowe’s Companies Inc. in 2018, candidly suggested an IT overhaul was in order, because Lowe’s had “failed to keep up with advancements in e-commerce, IT, and supply chain … [and] put our associates at a competitive disadvantage with outdated and cumbersome systems.”

Stitch Fix Inc. — which uses human stylists and algorithms to send boxes of selected clothing to online shoppers — deployed a Tinder-like game to gather more data about consumer preferences. The Style Shuffle shows a series of clothing items so that customers can give each one either a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down — and thus improving the company’s style-matching algorithms.

Macy’s Inc. deployed virtual reality (VR) furniture galleriesvirtual showcases of furniture layouts — at 100 stores. “For the customers who use VR, we’ve seen return rates that are 25% lower, and basket sizes 44% greater, than customers who don't use VR,” said CEO Jeff Gennette.

Warby Parker’s new mobile app combines augmented reality & face mapping so users can try on virtual glasses.

CarMax Inc., a retailer of used cars, created a personalized car-buying experience that lets customers buy online from their home, or in-store, or a seamless combination of both.

Carnival Corp., a major ocean-cruise company, obtained three U.S. patents for its innovative OceanMedallion, a wearable ID device that unlocks doors, streamlines food orders and payment, provides navigation advice, and helps the ship’s staff provide personalized customer service.

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. patented a vehicle navigation & data system that identifies high-risk parking lots — those with above-average vehicle collisions and/or theft — and suggests re-routing to a low-risk one. (U.S. Patent No. 10,204,518)

Jeans-maker Levi Strauss & Co. hired Katia Walsh as SVP & Chief Strategy and Artificial Intelligence Officer, reporting to the CEO.

FINRA fined Morgan Stanley $10 million because its transaction monitoring system failed to monitor “tens of billions of dollars” in transactions.

One of the most popular articles among newsletter readers: “AI speeds up the ballpark’s beer line.” Aramark Corp. has made paying for drinks at baseball stadium concession stands easier & faster by using AI-enhanced, self-service kiosks. Patrons place their beverages on the scanner, which uses computer vision technology to recognize multiple items (not bar codes) for payment. The technology produces 40% faster transactions and up to 25% higher sales, says Mike Giresi, Aramark’s SVP & chief digital information officer.


Here are the techniques I used to collect material for the newsletter, with links.

Read SeekingAlpha transcripts of quarterly earnings calls to spot execs talking about digital activity.

Subscribe to newsletters such as CIO Dive, Retail Dive, Supply Chain Dive, and The Heller Report.

Search U.S. Patent & Trademark Office filings for interesting patents & applications.

Monitor articles by:

Search the top PR wire services (my search term was “digital”), on a daily basis.

Set up Google Alerts for the following terms (in quotes!), although this will produce a flood of email:

  • “chief information”

  • “chief digital”

  • “chief data”

  • “chief analytics”

  • “chief technology"

Search for job openings (using the same terms used for Google Alerts).


Special Edition: Digital execs getting board seats

Exclusive list of CIOs and other digital leaders who joined a corporate board of directors in the past 12 months

Newsletter by journalist Mitch Betts © Ampersand Reports 2019, all rights reserved.

Welcome to this special edition of the Digital Business newsletter. It comes at a time when corporate boards are eager to gain expertise about digital transformation & cybersecurity in the face of digital disruption & disastrous data breaches. In addition, boards are trying to diversify the voices in the boardroom, including the addition of more women and minorities.

My observation while conducting research for this newsletter over the past year is that there has been a sharp increase in the number of CIOs (and similar digital executives) getting board seats. (I don’t have data for the 12 months before that, so that observation is impressionistic & un-quantified.)

Why this matters. A recent MIT study of 1,233 U.S. companies earning at least $1 billion in revenue found that only 24% of the boards of directors were deemed “digital savvy.” But those companies performed consistently better than their peers on key metrics, including 38% higher revenue growth, 17% higher profit margin, 34% higher market cap growth, and 34% higher return on assets.

Especially noticeable in my research: the prevalence of female CIOs & ex-CIOs selected for board seats in the past 12 months. In those cases, boards are gaining digital smarts and gender diversity in one appointment.

Below are the results of my analysis, followed by my list of CIO/CDO-to-board appointments in the past 12 months. At the end, you’ll find a Related Reading section, including advice for CIOs & CDOs who would like to snag one of those board seats in the future. — Mitch Betts


A total of 73 CIOs and other digital-savvy executives were appointed to U.S. corporate boards over the past 12 months — and 48 (or nearly 66%) of those were women, according to the Digital Business newsletter.

Above, left to right: Juan Perez, Zack Hicks, Meg McCarthy

of well-known CIOs and ex-CIOs getting new board seats — in the past 12 months — include:

  • Juan Perez, chief information & engineering officer at United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS), became a director at candymaker Hershey Co.

  • Diana McKenzie, former CIO at Workday Inc. and Amgen Inc., was appointed to the boards of insurer MetLife Inc., and healthcare tech platform Change Healthcare Inc.

  • Diane Bryant, whose career included positions of CIO at Intel Corp. and COO at Google Cloud, joined the board of tech vendor Broadcom Inc.

  • Paula Tolliver, former CIO at Intel and Dow Chemical Co., became a board director at C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc., a Fortune 500 transportation & logistics company.

  • Zackery (“Zack”) Hicks, chief digital officer at Toyota Motors North America Inc., and CEO of Toyota Connected Inc., joined the board of Signet Jewelers Ltd., which was seeking his digital expertise.

  • Patricia (“Patty”) Morrison, former CIO at Cardinal Health Inc., was appointed a board director at Baxter International Inc., a Fortune 500 healthcare company. (She was already on two other boards.)

  • Adam Stanley, global CIO & chief digital officer at Cushman & Wakefield plc, joined the board of GATX Corp., a railcar leasing company founded in 1898.

  • Margaret (“Meg”) McCarthy — former EVP of operations & technology, and CIO, at Aetna Inc., before its acquisition by CVS Health Corp. — recently gained director seats at Marriott International Inc. and American Electric Power (AEP).

Methodology: Ampersand Reports, publisher of this Digital Business newsletter, compiled a list of senior digital executives who were appointed or elected to corporate board directorships over the past 12 months (October 2018 through October 2019). The raw research is based on press releases posted at PR Newswire, Business Wire, Globe Newswire and PR Web. (Most entries were previously reported in this Digital Business newsletter, with links to the announcements.) The scope was limited to senior executives who manage (or formerly managed) internal enterprise IT and/or e-commerce at U.S. corporations, such as CIOs, CTOs, and chief digital officers. Executives excluded: IT vendor CTOs focused on the vendor’s technology. The boards are chartered for corporate governance. Boards excluded: Non-profit boards; customer advisory boards for vendors; and startup advisory boards.

The list has three categories:

  1. Currents: CIOs & C-level digital executives who currently hold that job and simultaneously were appointed to an external corporate board (29 digital executives, 40% of the total list)

  2. Formers: Former CIOs & C-level digital executives who are either retired or held those positions at some earlier point in their careers, and were appointed to a corporate board (35 people, 48% of the total list)

  3. Others: Digital-savvy executives, lacking C-level titles, appointed to a corporate board for their digital expertise (9 people, 12% of the total list)

The List


Senior executives who manage internal IT and/or external digital business
Appointed/elected to a U.S. corporate board of directors in the past 12 months

Category 1: C-level digital executives (e.g., CIOs, CDOs, CTOs, and equivalents) who CURRENTLY hold those positions and were appointed to an external corporate board in the past 12 months

Above, left to right: Amy Brady, Phil McKoy, Earl Newsome, Leslie Snavely
Above, left to right: Elizabeth Theophille, Zhanna Golodryga, Danielle Brown

Juan Perez
, chief information & engineering officer at United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS)
>> Board: Hershey Co.

Zackery (“Zack”) Hicks, chief digital officer at Toyota Motors North America Inc., and CEO of Toyota Connected Inc.
>> Board: Signet Jewelers Ltd.

Zhanna Golodryga, chief digital & administrative officer at Phillips 66 Co., and former CIO at Hess Corp.
>> Board: Regions Financial Corp.

Adam Stanley, global CIO & chief digital officer at Cushman & Wakefield plc
>> Board: GATX Corp.

Brigid Bonner, chief experience officer at CaringBridge, and former CIO at UnitedHealth Group
>> Board: Workiva Inc.

Lisa Baldwin, CIO at Tiffany & Co.
>> Board: Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co.

Steven Van Wyk, EVP of technology & innovation at PNC Financial Services Group Inc.; former CIO at ING and Morgan Stanley
>> Board: Reinsurance Group of America Inc.

Amy Brady, CIO at KeyCorp
>> Board: DuPont de Nemours Inc.

Sheila Jordan, CIO at Symantec Corp.
>> Board: Slack Technologies Inc.

Janet Sherlock, CIO at Ralph Lauren Corp.
>> Board: BJ’s Restaurants Inc.

Phil McKoy, CIO at UnitedHealth Group
>> Board: TrueCar Inc.

Earl Newsome, CIO at Praxair (now part of Linde plc)
>> Board: First Independence Bank (Detroit)

Noelle Eder, chief information & digital officer at Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc.
>> Board: Ameren Corp.

Danielle Brown, CIO at Brunswick Corp.
>> Board: PRA Group Inc.

Laura Miller, global CIO at InterContinental Hotels Group plc (IHG)
>> Board: LGI Homes Inc.

Adrian Butler, CIO at Dine Brands Global Inc. (IHOP and Applebee’s)
>> Board: Potbelly Corp.

Kathy McElligott, CIO & CTO at McKesson Corp.
>> Board: Forescout Technologies Inc.

Elizabeth Hackenson, CIO at Schneider Electric SE
>> Board: Forescout Technologies Inc.

Twila Day, CIO at Huntsman Corp.
>> Board: Luby’s Inc.

Michael Mathews, CIO at Deluxe Corp.
>> Board: Alerus Financial Corp.

Bruce Baude, chief operations & technology officer at CNO Financial Group Inc.
>> Board: MIB Group Inc.

Mercedes De Luca, CIO at Pebble Beach Co.
>> Board: PFSweb Inc.

Rathi Murthy, CTO at Gap Inc.
>> Board: PagerDuty Inc.

Albert Prast, CTO/CIO at Aerocare Holdings Inc.
>> Board: VectorCare Inc. (Also a board member at several other companies.)

Julie Scheck Freigang, CIO at Franklin Electric Co. Inc.
>> Board: Horizon Bank (Indiana)

Ann Dozier, CIO at Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits LLC
>> Board: Golden Entertainment Inc.

Leslie Snavely, chief digital officer at CHG Healthcare Services Inc.
>> Board: Med One Group

Elizabeth Theophille, chief technology & digital officer at Novartis International AG
>> Board: 8x8 Inc.

Timothy (“Tim”) Schoener, CIO at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Susquehanna
>> Board: Citizens & Northern Corp.

Category 2: FORMER C-level digital executives (e.g., former or retired CIOs, CDOs, CTOs, and equivalents) appointed to a corporate board as independent directors in the past 12 months

Above, left to right: Monte Ford, Denise Clark

Diana McKenzie
, former CIO at Workday Inc. and Amgen Inc.
>> Boards: MetLife Inc., Change Healthcare Inc.

Paula Tolliver, former CIO at Intel Corp. and Dow Chemical Co.
>> Board: C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc.

Monte Ford, former CIO at American Airlines
>> Board: Iron Mountain Inc. (Also on the boards of The Michaels Companies Inc. and Akamai Technologies Inc.)

Denise Clark, former CIO at Estée Lauder Companies Inc.
>> Board: Caesars Entertainment Corp. (Also on the board at United Natural Foods Inc.)

Kimberly (“Kim”) Hammonds, former CIO at Deutsche Bank AG and The Boeing Co.
>> Boards: Box Inc., Inc. (Also on the boards of Cloudera Inc., Tenable Inc., and Zoom Video Communications Inc.)

Michael Robinson, former chief digital officer at Macy’s and
>> Board: Vista Outdoor Inc.

Julie Bornstein, former COO at Stitch Fix Inc. and former chief digital officer at Sephora USA Inc.
>> Board: WW International Inc. (formerly Weight Watchers)

Adam Sussman, former chief digital officer at Nike Inc.
>> Board: AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc.

Darcy Ortiz, former CIO at Wachovia Bank’s corporate & investment bank
>> Board: Southwest Power Pool Inc.

Patricia (“Patty”) Morrison, former CIO at Cardinal Health Inc.
>> Board: Baxter International Inc. (Also serves on the boards of Aramark Corp. and Splunk Inc.)

Karen Austin, former CIO at PG&E Corp.
>> Board: Triton International Ltd.

Scott Alcott, former CIO at Comcast Cable Communications LLC
>> Board: TenFour (formerly Alliant Technologies LLC)

Marcy Klevorn, former head of Ford Motor Co.’s advanced technology units, and former CIO at Ford
>> Board: Northern Trust Corp. (Also a director at Pivotal Software Inc.)

Diane Bryant, former COO of Google Cloud; former president of Intel Corp.’s data center group; and former CIO at Intel
>> Board: Broadcom Inc. (Also on the board of United Technologies Corp.)

Michael Azarian, former CIO of Citigroup’s U.S. retail consumer & commercial groups
>> Board: Flushing Financial Corp.

Theresa Wise, former CIO at Delta Air Lines Inc.
>> Board: TCF Financial Corp.

Pam Parisian, former CIO at AT&T
>> Board: BrightStar Group Holdings Inc.

Vice Adm. Jan Tighe, USN retired, former CIO at the U.S. Navy
>> Board: Huntsman Corp.

Margaret (“Meg”) McCarthy, former EVP of operations & technology, and CIO, at Aetna Inc., before its acquisition by CVS Health Corp.
>> Boards: Marriott International Inc., American Electric Power (AEP)

Jay Vijayan, former CIO at Tesla Inc.
>> Board: HyreCar Inc.

Linda Clement-Holmes, former CIO at Procter & Gamble Co.
>> Board (re-elected): Cincinnati Financial Corp.

John-Paul Besong, former CIO at Rockwell Collins Inc. (now known as Collins Aerospace, a unit of United Technologies Corp.)
>> Board: United Fire Group Inc.

Georgette Kiser, former CIO at The Carlyle Group LP
>> Board: Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.

Brian Stevens, former CTO of Google Cloud
>> Board: Nutanix Inc.

Steven Scopellite, former global CIO at Goldman Sachs
>> Board: OceanFirst Financial Corp.

Ursuline Foley, former CIO and chief data officer at XL Group Ltd.
>> Board: Provident Financial Services Inc.

Robert Dixon Jr., former global CIO at PepsiCo Inc.
>> Board: Okta Inc.

Michael (“Mike”) Keller, former CIO at Nationwide Insurance & Financial Services
>> Board: Guidewire Software Inc.

Daphne Jones, a former CIO at General Electric Co. (imaging division), Hospira Inc., and Johnson & Johnson
>> Board: Barnes Group Inc. (Also a board member at Masonite International Corp. and AMN Healthcare Inc.)

Jim Cochrane, former CMO and CIO at the U.S. Postal Service
>> Board: Visible Supply Chain Management LLC

Chris Lofgren, former CIO, COO, and CEO at Schneider National Inc.
>> Board: International Money Express Inc.

Deborah Chase Hopkins, former chief innovation officer, and chief operations & technology officer, at Citi.
>> Board: Deep Instinct (USA) Inc.

Heather Wilson, chief analytics & AI officer at L Brands Inc.
>> Board: Equifax Inc.

Sondra Barbour, former EVP of information systems & global solutions, and former CIO, at Lockheed Martin Corp.
>> Board: AGCO Corp.

Shelley Leibowitz, former CIO at the World Bank and Morgan Stanley
>> Board: Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. (MassMutual); she also serves on the board of E*Trade Financial Corp.

Category 3: Other digital-savvy leaders appointed to a corporate board in the past 12 months to provide digital expertise

Above, left to right: Deb Henretta, Eva Manolis, Moonhie Chin, Linnie Haynesworth

Deb Henretta
, former group president of global e-commerce at Procter & Gamble Co.
>> Board: American Eagle Outfitters Inc.

Sumaiya Balbale, former VP of e-commerce, mobile and digital marketing at Walmart Inc.
>> Board: Shake Shack Inc.

Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn, a digital industry consultant and former executive at Cisco Systems Inc.
>> Board: Edison International & Southern California Edison

Harsha Ramalingam, former global VP of the e-commerce platform at Inc.
>> Board: Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.

Lizabeth Dunn, an IT and retail consultant
>> Board: GameStop Corp.

Eva Manolis, former VP of consumer retailing (e-commerce) at Inc.; and founder of Shutterfly Inc. (1999).
>> Board: iRobot Corp.

Moonhie Chin, former SVP of digital platform & experience at Autodesk Inc.
>> Board: Proto Labs Inc.

Linda Zecher, a digital transformation consultant
>> Board: Tenable Inc. (Also a board member at Hasbro Corp.)

Linnie Haynesworth, a former cybersecurity & technology executive at Northrop Grumman Corp.
>> Board: SunTrust Banks Inc.


  • Digital Directors Network

  • 5 Questions to Ask When Creating a Tech-Savvy Board (Deloitte)

  • Sharp Questions Can Help Boards Oversee Cybersecurity (WSJ)

  • Research: When Women Are on Boards, Male CEOs Are Less Overconfident (HBR)

  • Corporate Boards Face Challenges in Overseeing AI (WSJ)

  • Women Tech Execs: The Boardroom Door is Open (Deloitte)

  • The CIO’s Guide to Developing Board Engagement (IDC)

  • 10 Trends Directors Need to Know as 2020 Approaches (WomenCorporateDirectors)

  • 5 Biases That Hold Boards Back (Concinnity)

  • Governing Digital Transformation & Emerging Technologies: A Practical Guide (NACD)

  • What Your Board Needs to Know about Digital Transformation (Futurum)

  • Moving from CIO to corporate board requires a change in thinking (

  • Strengthening the CIO – Corporate Board Relationship (Fortium Partners / Heller Search)

  • How CIOs can become corporate board directors (

  • For CIOs, Joining a Board Requires Role Reversal (CIO magazine)

  • Why CIOs Makes Great Board Directors (HBR)

  • The impact of digital transformation on companies’ boards (Deloitte)

The State of the CISO

▸ AI software reveals what's inside walls ▸ Wendy's big plans for digital sales ▸ Walmart's 1,500 data scientists ▸ CxO jobs and career moves ▸

Valuable market intelligence about digital activity & executives in corporate America.

Newsletter by journalist Mitch Betts © Ampersand Reports 2019, all rights reserved.


CISOs see progress in business support. A new survey finds that 96% of chief information security officers (CISOs) believe senior executives have a better understanding of cybersecurity than they did five years ago. And 67% said their business leaders give high priority to cybersecurity — even if it “slows some users’ productivity down.” The results are from a survey of 200 CISOs (100 in the U.S., and 100 in the U.K.) by Optiv Security Inc., a security systems integrator. More results:

  • 97% of CISOs agreed with a statement that they’re “taking a more strategic approach to cybersecurity and focusing on business risk, rather than chasing individual threats & technologies.”

  • 51% said they had experienced (and managed the recovery from) a data breach, which in some cases led to changes to their security programs and caused senior business leaders to pay more attention to cybersecurity.

  • Whereas a security breach used to be a “scarlet letter” of shame for the CISO, in this survey, 58% of the CISOs agreed that “experiencing a data breach makes a CISO more attractive to other potential employers,” not less, perhaps because they’re better-prepared to manage through a breach.

Security budgets are up, but security staffing is flat. Most IT organizations are increasing spending on security and giving that category highest priority, according to a study by Computer Economics Inc. A major growth area is using AI & machine learning to track anomalies before humans can detect them. However, the study said that “increases in spending do not necessarily lead to headcount growth, as improved technology continues to allow IT personnel to be more productive. The continued skills shortage in IT security also no doubt contributes to the moderation in security staff hiring.” On average, IT security staff members make up 2.9% of the total IT staff in 2019 — a figure that has been essentially flat for four years running.


Image: NOVO Construction via Construction Dive

‘Game-changing’ view of construction sites. Big commercial builders such as Suffolk Construction Co. and Novo Construction Inc., and commercial real-estate developer Tishman Speyer Properties, are using an AI startup’s software to create the equivalent of Google Street View — but for the inside of buildings under construction. The OpenSpace software from Open Space Labs Inc. is being used on more than $50 billion worth of projects around the world.

How it works. The software creates navigable, 360-degree photo representations of a site. To record the images, a builder attaches a small, off-the-shelf camera to his or her hardhat and walks the site, with OpenSpace capturing imagery. Imagery data is uploaded to the cloud, where algorithms map the photos to project plans and stitch them together. Data generated by OpenSpace accumulates over time, allowing construction pros to review site conditions from days, weeks, or years in the past.

The benefits. Project managers can conduct virtual site tours, and communicate with subcontractors about any problems to solve, while the timestamp keeps records organized chronologically. Most of all, OpenSpace records what’s inside walls before they’re covered. “I've had crazy-positive feedback from building engineers that this is a game-changer for them to know what’s in the walls, what’s in the ceiling,” said Novo Construction’s COO Mike Ballou. — Jenn Goodman, Construction Dive

Wendy’s has big plans for digital sales. Digital sales make up 2% of The Wendy’s Co.’s overall U.S. sales, but the fast-food company plans to grow that amount to 10% of sales by 2024, Chief Digital Experience Officer Laura Titas said during the company’s Oct. 11 Investor Day. Check sizes for mobile orders are about 20% higher than average checks, she said, and digital customers visit Wendy’s about four times more often than traditional customers do. Moreover, data collected from digital customers can improve the one-to-one customer relationship — a benefit that will be enhanced when Wendy’s introduces a loyalty program next year.

Walmart by the numbers. Walmart Inc. has roughly 1,500 data scientists and 50,000 software engineers, according to Chief Data Officer Bill Groves, and is hiring more, including a role to develop voice-activated shopping applications. Those employees help support over 100,000 machine learning or AI-based projects currently in production. For example, Walmart is rolling out AI-powered cameras to monitor for theft. Overall, Walmart has 67 data science job openings, 43 software development vacancies, and 90 available data analytics jobs, according to its careers website. The success rate for Walmart’s AI & machine-learning projects? It’s 75%, Groves said. — Joe Williams, Business Insider

Toys R Us will piggyback on Target. The reborn Toys R Us retailer will rely on Target Corp. and its website to power its e-commerce sales. New brand owner Tru Kids Inc. has relaunched the website, which includes product reviews and new toy lists, but for purchases, shoppers will be connected to product pages on Target’s website, where Target will complete & fulfill transactions.

Insurer looks for clues about opioid addiction. Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. uses AI software to scan its files of workers’ compensation cases to identify people at risk of opioid addiction. The company’s algorithms look for at-risk clues such as insomnia, anxiety, a recent divorce or death — and then experienced nurses check to see if painkillers are inappropriately prescribed. (Abuse of opioid prescriptions in the U.S. workers compensation system contributes to higher claims costs borne by employers.) — Leslie Scism, The Wall Street Journal


Executive appointments, promotions, and transitions in corporate America

Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. appointed Lisa Baldwin — CIO at Tiffany & Co. — as an independent member of Reliance’s board of directors.

Johnson Controls International plc named Michael (“Mike”) Ellis as EVP & Chief Customer & Digital Officer. He was Managing Director at Accenture Digital.

Honeywell International Inc. announced that Tim Mahoney — who was chief executive of Honeywell’s aerospace business for 10 years — will take on a new role as SVP for Enterprise Transformation for Honeywell overall. “Mahoney, 63, will have broad responsibilities for Honeywell Digital, the company’s global, cross-functional digitization initiative that is driving improvements in customer service and efficiency,” the company said. He will be based in Phoenix, Ariz., and report to Honeywell’s Chairman & CEO.

Dropbox Inc., based in San Francisco, announced that Bharat (“Bart”) Mediratta will join Dropbox as CTO & SVP, Platform, and Timothy (“Tim”) Young will join Dropbox as SVP & GM, Core Dropbox, effective Oct. 22. They are replacing CTO Quentin Clark (who is stepping down but will remain at Dropbox to help with the transition until Jan. 3, 2020).

At F5 Networks Inc. in Seattle, CIO Tony Bozzuti is leaving F5, a spokesperson confirmed. His successor (in late October) will be Veresh Sita, with the title Chief Digital Information Officer.

Patty Watson has left her position as CIO at TSYS (Total System Services, now part of Global Payments Inc.). Similarly, Juan Gorricho has left his position as SVP of Data & Analytics at TSYS, and will start his next (unannounced) job in December, according to LinkedIn posts.

Empower Retirement, in Greenwood Village, Colo., appointed Carol Kline as CIO, reporting to the CEO. She will lead an IT team of 850. Kline was previously CIO at Conduent Inc. and Teletech (TTEC Holdings Inc.).

International Money Express Inc., in Miami, appointed Chris Lofgren as a member of the board of directors. He had a long career at Schneider National Inc., including promotions to CIO (1996), COO (2001) and CEO (2002 until his recent retirement).
▸ Related: Lofgren’s transition from CIO to CEO

The U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission named Neesha Hathi, EVP & Chief Digital Officer at Charles Schwab Corp., as a member of the new Asset Management Advisory Committee.

Equinix Inc., in Redwood City, Calif., hired Michael Montoya as Chief Information Security Officer. He held the same role at Digital Realty Trust Inc.

The XFL, based in Stamford, Conn., named David Michael as the new football league’s CTO. He was CIO at The Madison Square Garden Co.

SunTrust Banks Inc. appointed Linnie Haynesworth to the SunTrust board of directors. (Following the proposed merger with BB&T Corp., she will continue on the Truist board of directors for the new combined company.) Haynesworth recently retired from Northrop Grumman Corp., where she held executive positions related to cybersecurity and technology.

Chris Perry will expand his role from Chief Digital Officer to Chief Innovation Officer (covering innovation, data, and technology), effective January 2020, at communications firm Weber Shandwick in New York.

More appointments & promotions: ▸ Tony Spinelli, CIO at Urban One Inc. in Silver Spring, Md. ▸ Alejandro Benavides, CIO at Combined Insurance Co. of America, in Chicago ▸ Richard Cox Jr., SVP & CIO at Cox Enterprises Inc. in Atlanta ▸ Stephen Boyd, SVP of Technology, Innovation & Digital Strategy, at insurer Brown & Brown Inc. in Daytona Beach, Fla. ▸ Brian Zimmer, CTO at restaurant automation firm Brightloom in San Francisco ▸ Sarah Welcome, Chief Digital Officer at SAPinsider, an association of more than 350,000 SAP professionals, in Boston ▸ John Tabacco, Chief Digital Officer at Investview Inc. in Salt Lake City ▸ Tim Sikora, CIO at Monaker Group Inc. in Weston, Fla. ▸ Simona Rollinson, CTO at global technology association ISACA (formerly the Information Systems Audit & Control Association) in Schaumburg, Ill. ▸ Sandeep Swadia, EVP & Chief Data & Trust Officer at advertising tech vendor The Trade Desk Inc., in the New York office ▸ Jeffrey Wolniakowski, CIO at Advanced Group in Chicago ▸ Homarjun Agrahari, Chief Data Officer at Mode Transportation LLC in Dallas ▸ William Self, VP of Data Science & Analytics at H&R Block Inc. in Kansas City, Mo. ▸ Kristin Slepicka, VP of Corporate Systems at H&R Block Inc. in Kansas City, Mo. ▸ Jaimie Cole, CIO at Qmetrics Technologies in Pittsford, N.Y.


(links worked at time of publication)

Western National Mutual Insurance Co. is seeking a CIO in Edina, Minn. “Success in this role will come through a foundation of broad technical experience & expertise; demonstrated emotional intelligence (EQ); and a passion for developing highly effective work teams across multiple locations. Prior experience leading complex, transformational technology change initiatives is critically important.” The insurer offers a well-being program that includes “on-site massage, yoga classes, salad & healthy snack days, [and] sit/stand workstations.”

Kayser-Roth Corp. — an intimate apparel & hosiery manufacturer based in Greensboro, N.C. — is seeking a Chief Digital Officer. The job is to “help drive growth by converting traditional businesses to digital ones.” Responsibilities:

  • Oversee all the B2C and B2B digital commerce.

  • Identify revenue potential from digitization opportunities and driving the initiative.

  • Identify potential digitization opportunities and pain points.

  • Enhance customer (consumer & retail) satisfaction through digitization initiatives.

  • Enable employees with skills related to digitization. 

“Our beloved CIO is retiring. Are you the right executive to join our family and fill their shoes?” Uline — a family-owned distributor of shipping, industrial, and packaging materials — is seeking a CIO, reporting to the President. The company is based in Pleasant Prairie, Wis. (near Milwaukee). Perks include an “on-site café with executive chefs … first-class fitness center with complimentary personal trainers … [and] over four miles of beautifully maintained walking trails.”

Latham Pool Products Inc., in Latham, N.Y., is seeking a CIO. Will provide executive oversight of the Project Management Office, and should have “experience with M&A activity and systems integration.” 

Unibank — a bank founded in 1870 — is seeking a CIO in Whitinsville, Mass.

Hajoca Corp., in Lafayette Hill, Pa., is seeking a CIO. The company provides plumbing, heating, and industrial supplies.

CMOs struggle to reach their digital goals

▸ Well-known CIOs leave Walmart, Bayer/Monsanto, AstraZeneca ▸ Bank of America's patents ▸ CxO jobs and career moves ▸

Welcome to another edition of Digital Business. While there are many sources of opinion & advice about digital business, this publication tells you what’s actually happening in corporate America. If you think this is valuable market intelligence, please pass it along and urge your network to subscribe.
— Mitch Betts

Newsletter by journalist Mitch Betts © Ampersand Reports 2019, all rights reserved.
Reply to send feedback & news tips.


CMOs struggle with digital transformation due to “short-termism.” Dentsu Aegis Network’s 2019 global survey of 1,000 CMOs highlights a growing challenge for marketing leaders: They recognize the need for long-term business transformation but they’re under more pressure to deliver short-term business growth.

  • 83% identify the importance of seamless customer experience and commerce across channels, yet only 60% believe they are developing this capability well.

  • The divide is quite stark in data management & analytics, where 84% identify these capabilities as important to future success, but only 49% are confident in these capabilities today.

  • Other key challenges included: lack of integration across all elements of the customer experience; insufficient control over digital investments & programs; and competing C-suite agendas. 

CIO leaves Walmart. Yum Brands Inc. hired Clay Johnson, 49, as the company’s Chief Digital & Technology Officer, effective Oct. 15. He was Enterprise CIO & EVP of Global Business Services at Walmart Inc., but is departing shortly after Walmart hired Suresh Kumar as global CTO and Johnson’s new boss.

  • Yum Brands, based in Louisville, Ky., has over 48,000 restaurants worldwide, primarily operating the brands KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell. Johnson will “ensure the company provides a best-in-class digital journey across mobile, online, delivery, and restaurant operations.” Also, global technology risk management and IT shared services teams will report to Johnson.

  • At Walmart: “Johnson played a key role in leading Walmart’s digital transformation … built innovation hubs in Dallas and Austin, Texas, to focus on emerging technologies … [and] moved Walmart’s technology organization to a product model with an agile way of working.” Johnson was named “2018 CIO of the Year” by CIO Dive.

  • Gavin Felder, Global CFO & Head of Technology at Yum Brands, is being promoted to Chief Strategy Officer, effective Dec. 1.

Swanson leaves Bayer & Monsanto, returns to Johnson & Johnson. James (“Jim”) Swanson has rejoined Johnson & Johnson as EVP & Group CIO in New Brunswick, N.J., according to his LinkedIn profile. He was CIO at Monsanto Co. for almost five years and then another year at Bayer’s Crop Science unit, after Bayer AG acquired Monsanto in 2018.

Bank of America banks on IT patents. For the seventh consecutive year, Bank of America is the financial services company granted the most U.S. patents, according to the Intellectual Property Owners Association’s annual list of 300 organizations for 2018. Bank of America’s patent portfolio consists of more than 3,500 patents and applications, including 24 for its award-winning virtual financial assistant Erica, which has nearly 8 million users and completed more than 55 million client requests since being launched last year.

Advanced technology. Nearly half of Bank of America’s 2018 patents relate to pioneering advancements in AI, blockchain, cybersecurity, and mobile banking. Others involve uusing technology to promote accessibility, e.g., voice authentication for employees & customers with disabilities.

Tech innovators. The patents are protecting a competitive advantage, said Cathy Bessant, Bank of America’s chief operations & technology officer, in a statement.

“Bank of America’s employees are … inventors, not only leading the way in financial services, but also shaping the direction of the technology landscape overall.”

Yes, cybersecurity matters in M&A. The (ISC)² — a major nonprofit association of certified cybersecurity professionals — released the findings from its Cybersecurity Assessments in Mergers and Acquisitions report, which surveyed 250 U.S.-based professionals with mergers & acquisitions (M&A) expertise. A top result: 96% of respondents indicated that cybersecurity readiness is a factor when calculating the financial value of a potential acquisition target. Moreover:

  • 77% of M&A experts have recommended one acquisition target over another based on the strength of the cybersecurity program.

  • 57% of survey respondents said an acquiring company they work with has been surprised to learn of an unreported data breach during the audit process. Nearly half (49%) indicated that they had witnessed a merger or acquisition agreement fall through as a result.

Smoley returns from London. David Smoley, after six years as CIO at U.K.-based AstraZeneca plc, has landed a position as a VP at Apple Inc. in Sunnyvale, Calif., according to his LinkedIn profile. The exact nature of his role at Apple wasn’t clear, but Bloomberg News said Smoley reports to Mary Demby, Apple’s CIO.

Apple connection. Smoley, a member of the CIO Hall of Fame (2013), said he was inspired to become a CIO by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. In a 2011 InformationWeek article, Smoley said:

Steve Jobs is the reason I am a CIO today. As a high school student in the ‘70s, the Apple CEO inspired me and lured me toward technology. I went on to major in computer science in college and wrote a research paper on the Macintosh, even convincing the local computer store to let me borrow its only Mac so I could demonstrate it in my class. As an MBA student in 1988, I read “Steve Jobs: The Journey Is The Reward,” by Jeffrey Young, and studied Jobs in my leadership class.

I will never forget the lessons I learned — lessons about focus, simplicity, passion, commitment.


Real digital activity in corporate America

Image: Innit LLC

AI-generated food suggestions. Mars Food, Innit LLC, and Google have teamed up to provide consumers with supplemental information about Mars Food’s Uncle Ben’s rice products. The boxes feature stickers inviting consumers to point their smartphone — using the Google Lens mobile app — at the sticker “to discover dynamic content powered by Innit, including recipes with ingredient lists, nutrition advice, and step-by-step videos to make cooking simple.”

  • Users already signed up for Innit will also receive personalized shopping recommendations tailored to their preferences or dietary needs.

  • Google Lens is an image-recognition app designed to display relevant information based on AI-driven visual search.

Approved: UPS drone delivery of medical supplies. The U.S. Department of Transportation gave United Parcel Service of America Inc. (UPS) approval to operate a drone service. UPS is allowed to deliver vital healthcare supplies with drones across the U.S., after testing the program successfully on a hospital campus in Raleigh, N.C.

Baking a batch of digital innovation. Michigan-based Dawn Food Products Inc. — which provides products & services for the bakery industry — opened its first Digital Innovation Hub, located in Boston, under the leadership of Dawn’s Chief Digital Officer Bob Howland. The hub will focus on developing digital tools for Dawn’s bakery customers, such as online ordering and inventory management.


Executive appointments, promotions, and transitions in corporate America

DuPont de Nemours Inc., based in Wilmington, Del., appointed Amy Brady — who is EVP & CIO at banking company KeyCorp — to DuPont’s board of directors, effective Oct. 9.

Slack Technologies Inc., based in San Francisco, appointed Sheila Jordan, SVP & CIO at Symantec Corp., as an independent member of Slack’s board of directors.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in New York announced two additions to its technology leadership team:

  • Marco Argenti as Co-CIO, succeeding Co-CIO Elisha Wiesel, who is retiring. Argenti was previously VP of Technology at Amazon Web Services, and will share duties with the other current Co-CIO, George Lee. (Goldman Sachs has a lot of “co-ships.”)

  • Atte Lahtiranta as CTO, succeeding John Madsen. Lahtiranta was previously CTO at Verizon Media Group (formerly Oath).

Walmart Inc., in Bentonville, Ark., appointed Nuala O’Connor as SVP & Chief Counsel of Digital Citizenship, focusing on “how Walmart uses data & technology in a way that supports the company’s goal to be the most trusted retailer.” She was CEO of the Center for Democracy & Technology, a nonprofit focused on digital civil liberties; and associate general counsel for privacy & data protection at Inc.

Wells Fargo & Co., named Tracy Kerrins as CIO of Enterprise Functions Technology, reporting to Saul Van Beurden, Head of Technology, effective Oct. 21. Kerrins will be based in Charlotte, N.C., and will be responsible for IT for enterprise functions such as HR, finance, audit, legal, and marketing. She was the Chief Operations & Technology Officer at Antares Capital LP.

Nordstrom Inc., based in Seattle, promoted Ken Worzel to COO, “responsible for overseeing & bringing together Nordstrom’s digital & physical assets to create an end-to-end experience for customers across full-price and off-price.” He was Chief Digital Officer & President of

Rosendin Electric Inc., based in San Jose, Calif., promoted Matt Lamb to CIO, succeeding long-time CIO Sam Lamonica, who is retiring. For more on this carefully planned transition, see: “Anatomy of a succession plan: How Rosendin Electric’s CIO filled his own shoes” by Clint Boulton at

The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., in Hartford, Conn., appointed Deepa Soni as CIO. She succeeds Mark Esposito, who is retiring after a 13-year career with The Hartford. Soni reports to Bill Bloom, head of operations, technology, data and analytics at The Hartford. Soni was previously a CIO at BMO Financial Group.

Global investment firm The Carlyle Group announced that Matt Anderson — former Chief Digital Officer at Arrow Electronics Inc. — has been named Carlyle’s first Chief Digital Officer. He is based in New York.

The Hispanic Information Technology Executive Council (HITEC) launched its HITEC Hall of Fame. The inaugural class includes:

Equinix Inc., in Redwood City, Calif., hired Justin Dustzadeh as CTO. He was Head of Global Network & Software Platform at Uber Technologies Inc.

Barnes Group Inc., in Bristol, Conn., appointed Daphne Jones to the company’s board of directors and its audit committee. She was previously a digital executive at GE Healthcare (2014-2017, SVP for Digital / Future of Work, and CIO for Diagnostic Imaging & Services); and CIO at Hospira Inc. (October 2009 through June 2014) and at Johnson & Johnson (2006 to 2009). She is also a board member at Masonite International Corp. and AMN Healthcare Inc.

PrimeLending, in Dallas, promoted Tim Elkins to Chief Production Officer. He was previously CIO, but will now “oversee the company’s retail production (which includes more than 1,300 loan originators), marketing, and multicultural lending teams, along with retaining his existing technology-related responsibilities.”

Charter Communications Inc., in Stamford, Conn., hired Stephanie Mitchko as EVP & CTO. She will report to Rich DiGeronimo, Chief Product & Technology Officer, and have offices in both Stamford and Denver. Mitchko was COO & CTO at Cadent LLC.

Protective Insurance Corp., in Carmel, Ind., named Bahr Omidfar as CIO. He was CTO at CNA Insurance (January 2018 to April 2019).

Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd. appointed Mary Kotch as CIO. She was previously Global CIO at Validus Reinsurance Ltd. She was recently named one of the “2019 Top 50 Women in Technology” by the U.S. National Diversity Council.

Swagelok Co., a $2 billion private company based in Solon, Ohio, named Chris Nehez as CIO. He succeeds David Krabill, who now oversees the company’s Enterprise Program Office.

Ridge-Lane LP, a venture development firm, named several former IT executives to its partnership: Girish Varma, former CIO at CenturyLink Inc.; Kim Stevenson, former CIO at Lenovo Group Ltd. and Intel Corp.; Jim DuBois, former CIO at Microsoft Corp.; and Aamir Hussain, former CTO at CenturyLink.

Planet Home Lending LLC, in Meriden, Conn., hired Muthu Srinivasan as CTO, and Jeffrey Ratter as CIO, according to a company email.

  • CTO Srinivasan will “focus on the company’s major IT projects, including the continued build-out of digital mortgage and enhancements to Planet Home Lending’s digital personal mortgage assistant.”

  • CIO Ratter will manage IT infrastructure, including information security, IT support, vendor management, and facilities.

Visible Supply Chain Management LLC, in Salt Lake City, appointed Jim Cochrane to the company’s board of directors for his e-commerce expertise. He was previously CMO and CIO at the U.S. Postal Service.

More appointments & promotions: Bill McArthur, CIO at Resorts World Las Vegas ▸ Michael Kolbrener, SVP & Technology Executive at Bank of America in the Denver area ▸ Deepika Rayala, CIO at Yext Inc. in New York ▸ Parag Agrawal, CIO at Chobani LLC in Norwich, N.Y. ▸ Sujeet Bambawale, Chief Information Security Officer at 7-Eleven Inc. in Dallas (via Heller Search) ▸ Kamila Chytil, COO (in charge of digital transformation) at MoneyGram International Inc. in Dallas ▸ Niki Mangos, CTO at asset-management firm Hamilton Lane Inc. in Bala Cynwyd, Pa. ▸ Andrea Siudara, CIO at Altair Engineering Inc. in Troy, Mich. ▸ Jeremy Manning, CIO at Gulf Capital Bank, a new community bank in Houston ▸ Frank Flanagan, CIO at Equity Trust Co. in Cleveland

Wait, there’s more. Editor’s note: I’ve compiled more appointments & promotions than I can fit into this already-lengthy newsletter. If you’re interested, here’s a link to even more news about digital executives in corporate America.


(links worked at time of publication)

Blue Shield of California, in San Francisco, is seeking a new CIO (reporting to the new COO). The current CIO, Michael Mathias, is moving into a role as growth advisor to the CEO.

PNC Financial Services Group Inc. seeks a CIO in Pittsburgh. Must have 10 years of experience in retail financial services, including risk management.

Columbia Forest Products Inc., in Greensboro, N.C., is seeking a CIO. Company philosophies: A “continuous improvement mindset,” and “Get your boots on and go and see.”

Farm Credit Services of America is seeking a Chief Data Officer, reporting to the CTO and based in Omaha, Nebr. Salary: $130,500 to $212,070.

Phillips Edison & Co. (PECO), in Cincinnati, is seeking a CIO, reporting to the COO. Must be a forward-thinker about cloud computing, mobile computing, and AI — and “be willing & able to get their ‘hands dirty’.”

Partners Bank, in Sanford, Maine, is seeking a CIO, reporting to the COO.

Mobile app pros and cons | New digital chiefs at Walgreens, Kohl's

▸ Procter & Gamble updates ▸ AI gauges guest sentiment ▸ Equifax ex-CIO surfaces ▸ CxO jobs and career moves ▸

Welcome to another edition of Digital Business, a newsletter about real digital activity in corporate America, and the executives leading the way. If you think this is valuable market intelligence, please pass it along and urge your network to subscribe.
— Mitch Betts

Newsletter by journalist Mitch Betts © Ampersand Reports 2019, all rights reserved.
Reply to send feedback & news tips.


Retail apps: More sales, more returns. New research in the INFORMS journal Marketing Science shows that retailers’ branded mobile apps are very effective in increasing customer engagement — increasing sales on multiple levels, not just on the retailer’s website, but also in its stores. At the same time, apps increase the rate of returns, although the increase in sales outweighs the return rates.

The details. The study of retail mobile apps was conducted by Unnati Narang and Ventakesh Shankar, both of the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. Based on a data set from “a large-scale U.S. retailer of video games, electronics, and wireless services” — the study found that retail app users:

  • Buy 33% more frequently, and buy 34% more items

  • Spend 37% more than non-app user customers

  • Return products 35% more frequently, and return 35% more items

Quirky findings. Nevertheless, all factors considered, the researchers found that app users spend 36% more — net of returns. “Interestingly, we also found that app users tend to purchase a more diverse set of items, including less-popular products, than non-app users. This is particularly helpful for long-tail products, such as video games and music,” Narang said. Plus, some customers use the app to check loyalty rewards and product details — even when physically close to a store, Shankar said.

Related: In the retail pharmacy industry, only 20% of customers use a pharmacy’s mobile app, but those who do have satisfaction scores as much as 23 points higher than those who don’t. (J.D. Power)


Real digital activity in corporate America

Executives at consumer products giant The Procter & Gamble Co. provided some insights about FY 2019 digital activity, at a Sept. 5 investor conference:

CFO Jon Moeller: “E-commerce organic sales: up 25%, now well over $5 billion in annual sales, or about 8% of the company total.”

CEO David Taylor: “In the U.S, we built a data & analytics learning lab, based on anonymous media audience data and retail purchase information. We’re moving from generic demographic targets — like women 18 to 49 years old — to more than 350 precise, smart audiences, like first-time moms, millennial young professionals, first-time washing machine owners, and many more, to reach the right people at the right place at the right time.”

AI gauges guest sentiment. Great Wolf Lodge, a Chicago-based chain of family resorts with indoor water parks, is using AI software to better understand guest experiences at its lodges, according to CIO Edward Malinowski. Great Wolf’s homegrown Artificial Intelligence Lexicographer (GAIL) sifts through comments that guests have posted in monthly surveys. Thanks to natural language processing, GAIL analyzes the comments to determine whether the author is likely to be a net promoter, a detractor, or neutral. That helps the business operations team refine guest services, says Malinowski. — Clint Boulton,

Stock brokers get conversational. Investors with accounts at E*Trade Financial Corp. can use the Google Assistant to check their brokerage accounts and positions with easy-to-use voice commands, e.g., “Hey Google, check my E*Trade portfolio,” according to Ed Andersen, VP of Mobile & Advanced Technology. Rival TD Ameritrade Inc. announced the same Google Assistant capability (e.g., “Hey Google, check my TD Ameritrade portfolio”). According to CIO Vijay Sankaran, “TD Ameritrade built the experience with data security & privacy in mind. For example, on shared devices like Google Home, the Assistant will only read aloud percentage changes — not specific monetary values — when clients ask about their portfolio.”

  • Broader trend. A Capgemini Research Institute study says consumers will be increasingly comfortable using voice & chat assistants for researching products, learning about new services, and customer service queries.

Prudential buys online insurance startup. Prudential Financial Inc. has agreed to pay $2.35 billion for online startup Assurance IQ Inc. as traditional life insurers seek to reach digital-savvy customers who shop on the internet. Assurance uses online advertising to attract consumers to its online platforms, and then uses data science & machine learning to assess needs, guide customers to products they can afford, and speed up the application process. — Leslie Scism, The Wall Street Journal


“We couldn’t define digital as e-commerce, because the supply chain guys would say, ‘I want to be digital, too.’ Or as operations, because the salespeople would say, ‘What about me?’ So we clearly defined digital as something that helps us go 100 times faster — not to second-guess what we’re trying to do, but wanting to go faster.”

Sandeep Dadlani, chief digital officer at Mars Inc., in the Path to Purchase Institute’s profile


Executive appointments, promotions, and transitions in corporate America

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (WBA) — which ranks No.17 on the Fortune 500named Francesco Tinto as SVP & Global CIO, located at corporate HQ in Deerfield, Ill., and reporting to WBA’s co-COOs. “Tinto will oversee the global strategy for WBA’s IT operations across all of the company’s divisions, as well as the implementation of its technology and digital innovation. His role will include data analytics, business intelligence, development, support, infrastructure, security, and technical services,” the company said. Tinto previously was Global CIO at The Kraft Heinz Co.

Retailer Kohl’s Corp., based in Wisconsin, named Paul Gaffney as Senior EVP & CTO, reporting to the CEO. As CTO, Gaffney will be responsible for “all technology, information and digital platforms supporting Kohl’s omnichannel business,” the company said. He was previously CTO at Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc., and SVP of IT at The Home Depot Inc.

GATX Corp. — a global railcar leasing company, based in Chicago — appointed Adam Stanley to its board of directors, serving on the audit committee. He is Global CIO & Chief Digital Officer at Cushman & Wakefield plc.

CNA Financial Corp., based in Chicago, appointed Jane Possell as CIO, reporting to the COO. She was previously VP of U.S. Digital and Business Insurance Technology, at Liberty Mutual Insurance.

Jennifer (Jen) Felch has started work as Chief Digital Officer at IT vendor Dell Inc. in Texas. Felch will lead Dell Digital (Dell’s IT organization) like a CIO, with additional duties as “change agent for digital transformation.” She was an SVP in Dell’s Office of the CIO, leading corporate supply chain, IT strategy, and business operations. In an introductory blog post, Felch outlined how she’ll take digital transformation “to the next level.”

The next phase of this journey will be moving forward with our product-oriented approach that will drive more direct accountability for how our solutions are designed and operate. We’re moving Design and DevOps to the forefront of IT, like a software organization. With a better understanding of our customers’ & partners’ needs, we can more quickly adapt and introduce new capabilities to improve the overall experience. All of this relies on our continued work to modernize our applications & infrastructure by migrating to our private/hybrid cloud.

A unique aspect of our new operating model is that it features four critical cross-functional journeys aligned to the experiences that people have with us. These are the Customer journey, Team Member journey, Product Group Enablement journey, and Product journey, which is the experience for our own organization to design, develop, and deploy solutions. Members of my leadership team will assume responsibility for these journeys to drive focus, accountability, and progress across the functional operations.

The Deere & Co., based in Moline, Ill., elected John May as CEO, effective Nov. 4. Currently COO, May has held a variety of executive roles at the company, including CIO (2012-2018).

Former tech chiefs at AT&T Inc. move to the top of the C-suite. AT&T appointed John Stankey as President & COO, effective Oct. 1, a new position reporting to AT&T’s Chairman & CEO Randall Stephenson. Stankey will be in charge of three of AT&T’s four business units (AT&T Communications, WarnerMedia, and Xandr), which had combined revenues of $170.7 billion in 2018. Stankey — who was once AT&T’s CIO/CTO (2005-2007) — is considered a likely successor to CEO Stephenson.

  • Meanwhile, AT&T named Jeff McElfresh as CEO of AT&T Communications LLC (the company’s largest business unit, covering mobile, broadband and pay-TV services), effective Oct. 1, and reporting to Stankey (above). McElfresh was President of AT&T Communications’ Technology & Operations group, where he was responsible for the company’s network, technology, cybersecurity, data, and labs operations.

Marty Chavez, global co-head of the securities division at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. — overseeing a digital transformation there — will retire at the end of the year at age 55. He started at Goldman Sachs as a young computer programmer 26 years ago. He served as CIO from 2014 until 2017, when he was named CFO. (WSJ, CNBC)

The Principal Financial Group, based in Des Moines, Iowa, said that Gary Scholten, EVP & CIO & Chief Digital Officer announced his retirement, effective Dec. 31, 2019. An internal & external search for his replacement is underway.

Guidewire Software Inc., based in San Mateo, Calif., and serving the insurance industry, appointed Michael (Mike) Keller to its board of directors. Keller was EVP & CIO at Nationwide Insurance & Financial Services.

Sirius Group, a global insurance company, announced a new slate of C-suite executives, including Beth Boucher as “incoming” CIO.

Houston-based GoExpedi Inc., which runs an e-commerce platform for industrial procurement, hired Steven Hunter as CTO. He was SVP & CIO at Stage Stores Inc. In addition, GoExpedi co-founder Jonathon Howey was named CIO, overseeing the platform’s architecture, data, infrastructure, and customer experience.

AI Global, a nonprofit organization focused on advancing responsible & ethical adoption of artificial intelligence (AI), named Ashley Casovan as Executive Director. She was Director of Data & Digital for the Government of Canada, where she led development of the first national government AI policy. The organization also added to its network of advisors, including Rajeev Ronanki, SVP & Chief Digital Officer at Anthem Inc.; and Cameron Davies, SVP for Corporate Decision Sciences at NBCUniversal. The group is working on three initiatives:

Responsible AI Portal: An authoritative repository of reports, standards, models, government policies, open datasets, and open-source software to help members better navigate the AI landscape and directly connect with the experts who created these tools.

Responsible AI Designer: A virtual assessment to help members anticipate problems and future-proof their AI system. This tool brings together research and industry best practices to help designers, developers, and product owners keep in mind key AI challenges, including data rights & use, privacy, security, explainability, fairness, bias, and robustness. 

Responsible AI Check: An independent certification mark to help consumers easily identify trusted AI services and tools. Based on an AI Trust Index, the certification mark is continuously aligned with principles, best practices, and standards for responsible design, implementation, and use of AI. 

Related: How to create an AI ethics committee at your company (PDF)

More appointments & promotions: ▸ Shayne Mehringer, CIO at FastSigns International Inc. in Carrollton, Texas ▸ Stephen Skarlatos, CIO at Planned Systems International Inc. (PSI) in Arlington, Va. ▸ Astin Thomas, CIO at Sunbelt Transformer Ltd. in Temple, Texas (via Heller Search) ▸ Wasim Khan, Chief Digital Officer at Ripcord Inc. in Hayward, Calif.


Informal, insider tips

Graeme Payne — the former Equifax CIO who was in the hot-seat when Congress investigated the credit bureau’s calamitous 2017 data breach — has surfaced: He’ll be speaking at a Sept. 13 private event during the InfoSec Security Conference in Nashville. He now bills himself as an executive advisor on cybersecurity, and has a book out: The New Era of Cybersecurity Breaches, in which he “describes the challenges of managing cybersecurity, and the story of the Equifax cybersecurity breach.”

GameStop Corp. admitted that it redesigned its website because of customer feedback that “it had become increasingly difficult to use.”

Options Clearing Corp. (OCC) will pay $20 million in penalties to the SEC and CFTC to settle charges that it failed to comply with regulations involving risk management and IT security.


(links worked at time of publication)

SUEZ Water Technologies & Solutions, in Trevose, Pa., is seeking a Chief Data Officer “who can establish & build a cultural change around data excellence.” Tableau and SAP ERP experience “desired.” The same organization is seeking a Chief Information Security Officer.

HUB International Ltd., an insurance broker based in Chicago, is seeking a Chief Data Analytics Officer “responsible for developing a firm-wide data management strategy … including the development of data mining & insights, governance, analytics, and positive EBITDA programs.”

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