WPP fills new group CIO role – and other recent appointments
  • Advertising giant creates company-wide IT leadership position
  • New CIO led transformational change at Diageo and Royal Mail
  • Will oversee IT strategy spanning 3,000 offices worldwide and 17,000 staff
Ogilvy, Paris
Image: Ogilvy
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WPP fills new group CIO role – and other recent appointments

I-CIO editorial team – April 2014

Changes in IT leadership at WPP, ThyssenKrupp, Lowe’s, G4S, Aviva, Kuoni and TUI Travel.

One of the UK’s highest profile career CIOs is returning to the upper echelons of corporate IT leadership after three years on the supplier side of the IT industry. Robin Dargue, who has been EVP of business and information technology transformation at French network equipment company Alcatel-Lucent since 2010, is joining global advertising agency group WPP as its first ever group CIO.

In that newly created role, Dargue will oversee the provision of IT services to the organization’s 175,000 staff and associates in a highly dispersed grouping of advertising, PR and digital media agencies spread across 3,000 offices in 110 countries. His appointment comes at a time when WPP has been scaling up through M&A – the £11 billion group made 62 acquisitions last year alone – and an assumed challenge for Dargue will be to increase the levels of IT integration between largely autonomous units, which include Ogilvy, JWT, Y&R and Kantar (see interview with CIO of Kantar).

Before working at Alcatel-Lucent, Dargue spent almost three years as CIO and technology director at the Royal Mail Group, leading a major IT transformation program, and nine years as CIO and business process director at drinks giant Diageo. Earlier he held various leadership positions at Mars and Logica.

WPP’s current CIO David Nicoll will remain with the parent company, reporting to Dargue.
Other key appointments

GERMANY
ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions’ long-serving CIO, Olaf Röper, is retiring after 27 years with the business. His successor, Christian Pagel, will join the specialist engineering and construction services business in April as head of Corporate Function IT Management. Pagel comes from SGL Carbon, where he’s been group CIO since 2004. As CIO of the Industrial Solutions business unit, Pagel joins the company’s CIO committee, comprising the business area CIOs and group CIO, Klaus Hardy Mühleck.
• The Finance Minister for the Hesse region of Germany, Thomas Shepherd, is the state’s new CIO and its representative for e-government and IT, taking e-government strategy to a ministerial level in the Cabinet. Shepherd joins Bavaria’s new CIO Markus Söder (see February 2014 Appointments) on Germany’s IT planning council.

NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand Ministry of Education has selected Stuart Wakefield as CIO, a new role for the organization. He has spent the past two and a half years as director, ICT Government Strategy and Planning in the Government Chief Information Office at the Department of Internal Affairs.

SWITZERLAND
Kuoni Group has appointed a new CIO as part of an executive reshuffle. Jens Güthoff joins from media company, Axel Springer, where he’s been CIO since 2009. As Kuoni’s CIO, he’ll oversee its medium and long-term IT strategies, reporting to Peter Meier, who’s become CEO permanently as part of the board reorganization.

UK
• Security group G4S has appointed Martin Taylor as global CIO and Nick Folkes as regional CIO for the UK and Ireland. Taylor was previously CIO at EMI Music and earlier at Cable & Wireless, while Folkes is the former IT director at Tesco and most recently held the same role at MSCI.
• Monique Shivanandan has been named CIO of Aviva, joining the insurer’s group executive committee and reporting directly to group CEO Mark Wilson. She brings more than 25 years’ experience in IT across the finance and telecoms industries, having worked as managing director and CIO for BT Retail in the UK, and SVP and CTO at Capital One in the US.
TUI Travel has promoted Mats Eklund to Mainstream CIO, reporting to group CIO Mittu Sridhara and in line with the company’s ‘One Mainstream’ IT transformation program. Swedish-born Eklund has been director of business and IT transformation Mainstream at TUI since June 2012, and been with the company since 2000.
• Sustainable energy company Ovo Energy has selected Mariano Albera as CTO. He has been group CIO at travel brand Thomas Cook since October 2012, initially joining as CTO in January that year. Before this, he was CIO for online travel company Opodo for five years.

US
• Paul Ramsay is now CIO at home improvement retailer Lowe’s, following the exit of Kevin Summers. Ramsay has been SVP of IT at Lowe’s since 2011 and before that was VP of global infrastructure at Hess Corporation.
Realogy Holdings, the parent company of Coldwell Banker, ERA, Century 21 and Sotheby’s International Realty, has appointed a new CIO and SVP. Stephen Fraser was most recently global head of IT service and information management for IKEA Group in Sweden. He will be responsible for IT strategy across a portfolio of real estate brands that extends to 103 countries worldwide.
• The Hawaii Senate has named Keone Kali as CIO of the Hawaii Office of Information Management and Technology. He was formerly deputy CIO, and succeeds Sanjeev Bhagowalia in the top IT role. Previously, Kali has served as director of IT and acting CTO for the Pacific Disaster Center on Maui and as CIO for the City of Beverly Hills.
Kindred Healthcare has appointed C Scott Blanchette as CIO, following Richard Chapman’s retirement in December. Blanchette has previously served as SVP and CIO for Vanguard Health Systems, and has also been CIO at Healthways.
• Global oilfield provider of engineered services and products Oceaneering International has named Eric Silva as VP and CIO. He was most recently CIO at El Paso Corporation, and has also led IT at LyondellBasell and Lyondell.
BMC Software has selected Scott Crowder as its new CIO. He succeeds Mark Settle, who left earlier this year to join IHS as CIO (see March 2014 Appointments). Crowder has been deputy CIO at BMC for the past two years, and, before that, was VP of data center operations at Blackbaud and CTO of Kinetera.
• John Graefe has been promoted to CIO at Entercom Communications Corporation, one of the largest radio broadcasting companies in the United States. He was previously its VP of IT and will be the company’s first CIO. Before joining Entercom in 2002, Graefe was at Exelon and Bechtel.
Tractor Supply Company, the largest operator of farm stores in the US, has hired Robert Mills as SVP and CIO. He joins the executive Committee and replaces James Callison, who’s set to retire. Mills’ experience in the retail industry includes stints at Ulta Beauty, where he was most recently CIO, and as head of the online business unit of Sears Holdings.
• Virginia Evans is the new CIO at the University of Virginia. She’s served as interim CIO since the departure of VP and CIO James Hilton last July.

First published April 2014
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