Who are the most powerful digital tech leaders across North and South America? Our ranking profiles the CIOs and heads of tech at the continents’ largest companies.
See our exclusive infographic: The characteristics of America’s top 20 business CIOs
This year has been a challenging one for many tech leaders at the top-performing US companies. They have had to contend with the additional complexities brought on by the global pandemic and economic and geopolitical upheaval, on top of the usual challenges of fulfilling increasingly IT-driven business functions. Our annual ranking of the top 20 heads of global IT identifies those who have helped navigate their organizations through these changes.
Two of the longest-serving CIOs — Clay Johnson and Mike Brown, of Walmart and ExxonMobil respectively — have moved into new roles since our 2019 round-up, which means that two new faces top our list of the region’s most powerful CIOs. Suresh Kumar, CTO and CDO of Walmart (there is no longer a CIO at the world’s largest company), and Bill Keillor, of ExxonMobil, are joined by new tech leads at McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Marathon Petroleum and Kroger.
Marathon Petroleum is one of three new entrants to the list, having seen its revenue increase by almost a third in 2019 as a result of its acquisition of rival Andeavor. Other new entrants are Microsoft and UnitedHealth Group.
Although Amazon and Apple continue to rank as two of the most powerful companies in the world, in terms of annual revenue, they both remain evasive about revealing any single head of their internal IT operations.
Women continue to be underrepresented at the top of the industry, with only 2 of the 20 largest companies in the US naming a female CIO. While Kathy McElligot was replaced by Nancy Flores in the top IT position at healthcare company McKesson, Pam Parisian’s departure from AT&T has left one fewer women in the top 20 list.
In terms of sectors, healthcare and pharmaceutical technology feature most prominently, taking up 6 of the top 20 places. Telecoms and retail CIOs also continue to perform well and, despite the recent slump in the price of oil, three US oil and gas companies also make this year’s list.
|TOP ENTERPRISE CIOS IN THE AMERICAS REGION*|
|Company (HQ)||Revs ($bn)||Head of IT|
|1. Walmart (US)||524.0||Suresh Kumar|
|2. ExxonMobil (US)||265.0||Bill Keillor|
|3. CVS Health (US)||256.8||Roshan Navagamuwa|
|4. UnitedHealth Group (US)||242.2||John Santelli|
|5. McKesson (US)||231.1||Nancy Flores|
|6. AT&T (US)||181.2||Jon Summers|
|7. AmerisourceBergen (US)||179.6||Mark Spykerman|
|8. Alphabet (US)||161.9||Ben Fried|
|9. Ford Motor Company (US)||155.9||Jeff Lemmer|
|10. Costco Wholesale (US)||152.7||Paul Moulton|
|11. Chevron (US)||146.5||Bill Braun|
|12. Cardinal Health (US)||145.5||Brian Rice|
|13. JPMorgan Chase Health (US)||142.4||Lori Beer|
|14. General Motors (US)||137.2||Randy Mott|
|15. Walgreens Boots Alliance (US)||136.9||Francesco Tinto|
|16. Verizon Communications(US)||131.9||Shankar Arumugavelu|
|17. Microsoft (US)||125.8||Andrew Wilson|
|18. Marathon Petroleum (US)||124.8||Ehren Powell|
|19. Kroger (US)||122.3||Yael Cosset|
|20. Cargill (US)||113.5||Justin Kershaw|
CTO and CDO
Suresh Kumar has the combined role of CTO and chief development officer for American retail giant Walmart. The former Microsoft and Amazon exec heads up the consumer-facing and internal technology teams, following the departures of former CTO Jeremy King and CIO Clay Johnson. Johnson now holds the same position at Yum! Brands — owner of restaurant brands including KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. Kumar brings with him 25 years of technology leadership experience — most recently as VP and general manager of display, video, app ads and analytics at Google. Kumar has been tasked with creating new tools and systems to digitally transform Walmart’s business operations while improving the customer experience online. Bill KeillorVP, global ITExxonMobil
Bill Keillor replaced Mike Brown, the outgoing global IT lead at ExxonMobil, in 2019. Keillor’s career with the multinational oil and gas company began in 1989, where he first served as a financial analyst. He has since held several posts in the firm’s fuels marketing, refining and supply, strategic planning and business transformation areas. Before becoming VP of ExxonMobil’s global IT department, Keillor led the digital transformation of its fuels and lubricants business, exploring new business models and introducing digital tools that enhance efficiency and customer experience. Roshan NavagamuwaEVP and CIOCVS Health
Roshan Navagamuwa was promoted to the role of EVP and CIO in March 2019, following a short stint as CVS Health’s interim CIO. The move followed the retail pharmacy and healthcare giant’s $70 billion acquisition of health insurance company Aetna. As CIO, he is responsible for technology operations and innovation, and is overseeing the IT and data integration of CVS and Aetna. Navagamuwa, who spent 8 years in a range of senior IT roles at the US arm of the UK-headquartered insurance company Aon, has claimed that building organizations that are resilient and agile will be key as we move into a post-pandemic world.
John Santelli first joined UnitedHealth Group in 1986 and has led the healthcare company’s enterprise IT operations since 2007. Santelli has developed the company’s corporate technology architecture and helped move UnitedHealthcare from paper-based communications to electronic ones. The CIO also sits on the board of directors of Health at Scale Technologies and is EVP of Optum Technology, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group focused on innovation in healthcare.
EVP, CIO and CTO
Overseeing McKesson’s technology initiatives, infrastructure and cybersecurity is Nancy Flores. Flores succeeded Kathy McElligott in January 2020, following McElligott’s retirement, and has taken on her dual CIO and CTO roles. She has previously served as CIO of medical device company Abbott Laboratories and, most recently, as CIO of Johnson Controls, where she was responsible for the building security and safety firm’s cybersecurity and analytics.
CIO AT&T, Technology and Operations
Jon Summers has spent nearly a decade at telecommunications conglomerate AT&T, most recently as CIO. During this time, Summers has been heavily involved in AT&T’s delivery of cloud hosting services and developer tools. He has previously held the positions of SVP of Growth Platforms and CIO of AT&T Business Solutions. Currently, the optimization of AT&T’s core operations and the modernization of its internal network applications are top of his agenda, as the organization looks to establish a nationwide 5G network.
SVP and CIO
Mark Spykerman became CIO of AmerisourceBergen in May 2019. He has held a number of leadership roles at the US healthcare company since first joining in 2012, including SVP of transformation and strategy lead for the company’s health systems and independent pharmacy markets. As CIO, Spykerman heads up the organization’s global IT operations and has previously spoken about his interest in maximizing the use of data within the healthcare industry. Before joining AmerisourceBergen, Spykerman was a consultant with McKinsey & Company.
VP and CIO of Google
Ben Fried is the longest-serving CIO on the list, having joined Google in 2008. Prior to that, he worked at Morgan Stanley where, over a 14-year period, he had risen through the ranks to become managing director of the bank’s application infrastructure group. Fried is credited as a co-designer of the Decision-Theoretic Scheduler, used by NASA to schedule missions, while at Heuristicrats Research. At Google, Fried has championed the company’s cloud strategy, arguing that it should move as fast in that direction as possible. The Google CIO is also an advocate of frequent organizational changes, arguing that technology teams thrive on change.
VP and CIO
Ford Motor Company
Jeff Lemmer has spent his entire career with the Ford Motor Company and first joined the carmaker as a graduate in 1987. He has held multiple positions at the company, including director of IT global service delivery and COO of IT. In that role, he led the transformation of the technology group into a product-driven organization. Lemmer assumed the role of CIO at Ford in June 2018. He argues that IT needs to move away from being ‘order takers’ to being an integral part of creating business projects. Lemmer’s team have also been exploring uses of AI as the car company looks to expand into the ride-sharing and autonomous vehicle market.
EVP and CIO
Paul Moulton is a career employee at Costco. He joined the organization in 1985 and has held a variety of management positions, including VP of finance and corporate treasurer and COO for Costco in Europe and then Asia. He has also been responsible for marketing, e-commerce and member services, as well as real-estate development. Moulton became EVP and CIO of Costco Wholesale in 2010. In this role, he oversees Costco’s global IT operations and is responsible for the direction of all technology at the membership-based retail company.
CIO, Chevron Corp and president of Chevron IT Company
As CIO, Bill Braun oversees IT systems for the oil and gas firm’s 52,000 employees. He first joined Chevron as a programmer in 1991 and has held a variety of technical and management positions across the organization in the years since. In 2015, Braun was promoted from divisional CIO for Global Upstream to global CIO and president of Chevron IT Company, the oil and gas firm’s IT services subsidiary. As well as acknowledging that the role of the CIO is changing, he has argued that IT organizations need to be increasingly responsive to business needs and to be fast-acting in fulfilling them. One of the ways that he has helped Chevron to move faster is by helping the company embrace predictive maintenance in its oil fields and refineries through the introduction of IoT. The company is also assessing the potential of emerging technologies such as quantum computing and has explored the use of facial recognition to detect signs of fatigue in Chevron’s truck drivers.
EVP, Customer Support Services and CIO
Cardinal HealthBrian Rice has spent much of his working life leading IT teams. He led Mars’ Asia Pacific Information Services in Singapore before becoming global process information officer and global services information officer at General Motors. Rice moved to Kellogg as a regional CIO before being promoted to group CIO and head of global business services. Rice joined Cardinal Health in February 2019 to lead the global enterprise-wide IT strategy and the Customer Support Services teams. He reports to Cardinal Health’s CEO, Mike Kaufmann.
As global CIO of JPMorgan Chase since 2017, Lori Beer manages an IT budget of $11.5 billion and a team of 50,000 technologists who support the bank’s retail, wholesale and asset and wealth management businesses. As part of her role, she is tasked with leveraging new technologies to support the financial institution’s operations, which includes AI, multi-cloud and blockchain. Before joining JPMorgan Chase in 2014 as CIO for its Corporate & Investment Bank, Beer was EVP of Specialty Businesses and Information Technology at WellPoint (now Anthem), where she was responsible for a $10 billion business. On arrival at JPMorgan Chase, Beer was CIO for the Corporate & Investment Bank.
SVP, global IT and CIO
Randy Mott, who became CIO of General Motors in 2012, spent 22 years at Walmart, rising to CIO, before taking up the same position at Dell and then HP. Mott is credited with pioneering retail and supply-chain systems automation while at Walmart and saw the retail giant triple its revenue during his first six years as CIO. At General Motors, Mott is responsible for the organization’s global IT strategy, as well as all IT assets. He has overseen an enormous technology insourcing transformation at GM, bringing 10,000 IT staff back in-house and hiring 3,000 new graduates. Mott has also led the establishing of innovation centers at company headquarters in Detroit, Austin, Atlanta and Phoenix.
SVP and global CIO
Walgreens Boots Alliance
Heading up Walgreens Boots Alliance’s IT operations is Francesco Tinto. His remit includes business intelligence, data analytics and security. Tinto came to the Illinois-headquartered pharmaceutical firm from The Kraft Heinz Company in 2019, after 17 years at the Chicago-headquartered food business. On taking the global CIO role at Walgreens Boots Alliance, Tinto pledged to bring technology innovation to the forefront of the organization and has been tasked with improving current business processes and optimizing the next generation of IT infrastructure used internally.
SVP and global CIO
Shanka Arumugavelu moved to Verizon in 2002 and has held several high-level technology positions spanning Verizon Telecom, Wireless and Data Services. He has served as Senior VP and global CIO since 2017, with responsibility for IT strategy, systems portfolio development and operation of all supporting infrastructure. Arumugavelu has argued that digital transformation — and indeed business transformation — within the telecoms industry is essential if companies are to meet customers’ ‘mobile-first’ expectations. Following the coronavirus pandemic, Arumugavelu worked swiftly to support a 115,000-strong workforce switch to remote working and helped introduce new technologies, such as Augmented Reality, to allow technicians to remotely help customers.
CDO and CVP of Core Services Engineering
As CDO, Andrew Wilson is responsible for driving the internal digital transformation of systems and processes that run Microsoft. He leads a team of 4,000 engineering and business professionals in 49 countries and oversees Core Services Engineering, which refers to the tech company’s internal IT operations and product development. Wilson started his role at Microsoft in February of this year and previously worked for 31 years at professional services company Accenture — six of which were as CIO. He was brought in to drive innovation and productivity for Microsoft’s 140,000 employees and make it easier for customers and partners to do business with the company.
SVP and Chief Digital Officer
Ehren Powell has been SVP and CDO of Marathon Petroleum since July 2020, when he took over the top technology role at the petroleum refining, marketing and transportation giant from long-standing CIO Donald Wehrly. Powell leads the Ohio-based company’s digital strategy and global technology infrastructure worldwide. He joined Marathon after 20 years at General Electric, where he held IT leadership positions in GE’s aviation, power, transportation and nuclear energy businesses, latterly as CIO of GE Healthcare.
SVP and CIO
Yael Cosset stepped into the role of SVP and CIO at Kroger in May 2019, following the retirement of veteran IT leader Chris Hjelm. He has retained his previously responsibilities as CDO of the American grocery giant. Cosset — who earlier was global CIO of CPG data-crunching company DunnHumby — has also taken the helm of data intelligence subsidiary 84.51˚, as CEO and SVP of Kroger's Alternative Business portfolio.
Corporate VP and CIO
With five years’ experience as CIO of Cargill, Justin Kershaw is responsible for all aspects of information technology across the corporation’s $113 billion global portfolio, which comprises agriculture, food manufacturing, commodity trading and financial services. Kershaw began his career as a systems engineering manager at General Electric and has held a number of senior IT positions at F. Schumacher & Co., Eaton Corporation and the State of Delaware. Cargill is seeing disruption become the norm for the food and agricultural sector and is investing in digital innovation. IoT, AI, robotics and data analytics are among the technologies that Kershaw has sought to introduce at the company and are being used to help monitor crops, poultry and livestock.