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CIO Leadership Award Names Final Four

Posted by Shannon Farrelly in News on May 16, 2016 10:49:54 AM

Update: David Neitz was named the award winner.


In today’s IT-driven economy, it’s a given that CIOs must use technology to lead the business forward to the next level. The four finalists for the 2016 MIT Sloan CIO Leadership Award each put these practices into action in unique and outstanding ways. “Beyond fixing IT, they are helping to transform their businesses,” according to awards Co-Chair, George Westerman. As digital innovation accelerates, “There’s never been a better time to be a great CIO, and never a worse time to be an average one,” Westerman said. The winner will be announced on May 18, the night before the MIT CIO Symposium.


The Award recognizes Chief Information Officers (CIOs) who maximize business value and use IT to transform internal and external services for employees, customers and partners. Ray Chang, Co-Chair of the program, noted that, "These CIOs set themselves apart with their high-level strategic focus and exceptional technology offerings, enabling our digital economy to thrive."

The CIO finalists are:


Suresh Kumar, BNY Mellon
It’s not easy to introduce game-changing technology to a 230-year-old financial services giant. But for the past four years, Kumar, Senior EVP and CIO for BNY Mellon, has been moving the dial in many ways. A member of the company's Executive Board, Kumar leads nearly 13,000 Client Technology Solutions employees in creating and delivering internal and well as client-facing technology solutions. The company reported $28.9 trillion in assets under custody in 2015, and provides management services in 35 countries. Kumar is also responsible for BNY Mellon Technology Solutions, a business unit set up to monetize BNY Mellon technology. Kumar was recognized for leading a major transformation of the company’s many complex legacy systems. The NEXEN platform provides modular services-- available as-needed through the cloud-- that improve efficiency and time-to-market for BNY Mellon’s employees and clients.


Jeanne Lieb, FM Global
Sometimes, the seeds of innovation can be found in your own backyard. Jeanne Lieb, SVP and CIO at FM Global-- one of the world leaders in commercial property insurance—turned the request for a mobile strategy into a new integrated platform that helps clients manage risk. She and her team started with tools that already existed in house, and then continuously expanded them over time. The MyRisk® portal not only includes information on policies and transactions, but also proprietary risk-benchmarking models. Clients can understand the drivers of risk in their operations, quantify the potential business impact of those risks and examine scenarios to reduce the risks. Lieb is a member of FM Global's executive oversight group for business transformation, the technology steering committee and the market and product development committee.

Being a finalist “puts the spotlight on the strategic importance at our company of leveraging technology to deliver unparalleled insurance, loss prevention and claims offerings that positively affect our business operations and clients on a global basis," she said.


David Neitz, CDM Smith
When IT deeply understands the business, digital innovation often develops organically. Neitz, the CIO at CDM Smith, uses his knowledge of his firm’s engineering and construction business to create value and deliver better business outcomes. He is responsible for all aspects of the firm’s Business Technology practice, including a transformative Digital Capital strategy that focuses on innovation. Among the solutions are new technologies and processes that capture digital assets and provide new visualization and collaboration capabilities, resulting in superior results for clients. Taking advantage of special cloud partnerships, he and his team sped up the modeling process twenty-fold, which reduced modeling time from days to minutes, and added new, intelligent-design capabilities for the business. The team then extended the modeling capability to include complex, CDM-proprietary analytics such as such as groundwater modeling. The new, mixed-reality visualization capabilities transformed the process of working with customers, since designers can now work virtually side-by-side with clients to consider different scenarios, rather than having each cycle take days.


Steve Phillips, Avnet Inc.
As SVP and CIO for Avnet Inc., Phillips pays close attention to business needs and trends and then offers appropriate solutions. He is responsible for global IT strategy and enterprise effectiveness at the leading global technology distributor, focusing on digital transformation, operational excellence and customer engagement. All the while, he keeps the business top-of-mind. He and his team transformed IT from order-taker to strategic partner, by improving performance transparency, aligning leadership and improving IT employees’ career opportunities. He also leads one of the company’s five strategic initiatives – enterprise effectiveness – which aims to continually find new ways to improve the performance of business operations. 

"Business should always be at the center of IT,” Phillips said. His team strives “to find new ways to use information technology to advance the business goals of Avnet and our partners." During due diligence for a recent acquisition, his team called attention to a small, on-line IT training offering in the acquired firm. He worked with the IT and business leadership teams to turn the capability into a global growth business, called Avnet Academy.


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