Business & Finance
Commentary
6/6/2003
10:12 PM
John Soat
John Soat
Commentary
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IT Confidential: Loyalty Programs And Intellectual Property

Harrah's Entertainment tapped Charly Paelinck as its VP of IT development. Paelinck will head technology development for Harrah's most important areas: operations, marketing, and gaming. In particular, his team will be responsible for enhancing the IT systems supporting Total Rewards, Harrah's wildly successful--and widely emulated--customer-loyalty program. Last fall, Harrah's promoted Gary Loveman, the Harvard professor credited with creating the program, to CEO. Before Harrah's, Paelinck had an IT consulting company, and before that he held executive-level IT jobs at Baxter International, Frito-Lay, Kellogg, and Sprint. Paelinck will report to Harrah's CIO, Tim Stanley.

Speaking of Frito-Lay, did you see that Yahoo hired Frito-Lay executive Cammie Dunaway as the Internet portal's chief marketing officer? Dunaway spent 13 years supervising such brands as Cheetos, Ruffles potato chips, and Rold Gold Pretzels and most recently was VP and general manager of Frito-Lay's kids' and teens' brands. She will lead global branding and product marketing at Yahoo.

The management wheels at Covisint, the auto industry's online exchange, keep turning. Last week, Covisint named Bob Paul president and CEO. Paul, 40, has been with Covisint since October 2001, most recently as senior VP of sales and marketing. Only last month, Harold Kutner turned over the chairman and CEO title to Bruce Swift, formerly Covisint's president and chief operating officer. Swift is moving to a division president's job with auto-parts supplier Metaldyne but will remain chairman of Covisint. Kutner, who helped put together Covisint, was coaxed out of retirement last year to take the CEO spot when Kevin English resigned as president, CEO, and chairman.

Microsoft snatched up a former IBM patent attorney as its new corporate VP and deputy general counsel for intellectual property. Marshall Phelps, 58, had worked for IBM for 28 years, where he was VP for intellectual property and licensing. At Microsoft, Phelps will be responsible for trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights, and the vendor's war chest of 3,000-plus U.S. patents. Phelps reportedly retired from IBM in 2000.

The truth hurts. Dennis Moore, senior VP of cross applications for SAP Labs, speaking at the Technologic Partners conference last week in Palo Alto, Calif., said SAP is well aware of how IT buying trends have changed. "There is no IT budget," he said. "The IT budget is zero." Moore said no one is buying anything that won't pay for itself within a year. "The budget is owned by the line-of-business managers."

And we all know what they're like--spendthrifts, party animals, drunken sailors. I'm glad they don't have hold of my purse strings--wait, what happened to my purse strings? I had them here a minute ago. While I look for them, send an industry tip to jsoat@cmp.com or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to talk about data mining, creative marketing, or how to protect your intellectual property, meet me at InformationWeek.com's Listening Post: informationweek.com/forum/johnsoat.

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