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1/28/2005
06:35 PM
John Soat
John Soat
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IT Confidential: Politics And The Mouse Hold Sway

From Muscle Cars To Mickey Mouse. Tony Scott, chief technology officer for General Motors, is leaving to go to Walt Disney, where he will take over as senior VP and CIO in about two weeks and work out of the company's Burbank, Calif., headquarters. Scott joined GM in 1999 and was responsible for the carmaker's global architecture and emerging technology. He reported directly to GM CIO Ralph Szygenda, who said in a statement, "Tony Scott is one of our most gifted IT executives. While I'm disappointed to lose him from my staff, I'm proud and happy to see him achieve continuing personal and professional success in this exciting new opportunity with the Walt Disney Company." Before GM, Scott was VP of information management at pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he developed its Web and E-commerce infrastructure. Scott has a bachelor's degree in IS management from the University of San Francisco and a law degree from Santa Clara University.

Politics, I.T., Strange Bedfellows. John Thomas Flynn, who was Massachusetts' first state CIO and also the first CIO for the state of California, is seeking political office. Flynn, now VP of advisory services at government IT advisory firm the Center for Digital Government, recently joined a crowded field of 12 candidates for California's special election on March 8 to replace late Democrat Rep. Robert Matsui, who died Jan. 1. Flynn served three years as California's first CIO, named in 1995 by Gov. Pete Wilson to head the Department of Information Technology, a Cabinet-level agency. He also served as California's year 2000 czar, responsible for coordinating the state's remediation of its 3,000 computer systems. Flynn was named Massachusetts' first CIO in 1994. Flynn served in the Reagan administration, as executive director of the Federal Regional Council, and recently as adviser to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's California Performance Review. Matsui's widow, Doris, is considered the front-runner in the race.

Maybe She Should Go Into Politics. Ruth Harenchar has left her post as CIO of Bowne & Co., the 200-year-old New York printer and electronic-communications company. "I am doing independent consulting right now and investigating new career opportunities," Harenchar says in an E-mail. "I very much enjoyed my tenure at Bowne and am proud of my accomplishments there. I am looking for an opportunity where I can have the same positive impact." If you know of any good opportunities for a smart business-technology manager, I can pass them along.

Don't Be Evil--BuT MONEY DOESN'T HURT. Last week, it was learned that Google, the "Don't Be Evil" search company, had hired not one but two of the lead programmers on Mozilla Foundation's Firefox project. Firefox is the open-source Web browser that's giving Microsoft a run for its Internet Explorer money. Both moves, announced through Weblogs, are fueling speculation Google is prepping to enter the browser market itself. While employed by Google, the programmers still will spend half their time working on Firefox.

Don't Be Evil--wasn't that an Elvis Presley song? Or am I thinking of U2? If you think of an industry tip, send it to jsoat@cmp.com or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to talk about working at Disney or running for office, meet me at InformationWeek.com's Listening Post: informationweek.com/forum/johnsoat.


To discuss this column with other readers, please visit John Soat's forum on the Listening Post.

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