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1/18/2002
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IT Confidential

Norman Lorentz takes office this month as the country's first chief technology officer, and the 54-year-old former CTO of the U.S. Postal Service says he intends to revamp the way the federal government uses IT by encouraging agencies to adopt uniform technologies, work toward cross-agency interoperability, and use more off-the-shelf technologies. "The primary reason I'm here is to apply the same productivity tools that have resulted in extraordinary productivity gains in private industry," Lorentz says. The White House hired Lorentz in December as CTO of the Office of Management and Budget, where he controls the government's $45 billion IT budget; he reports to Mark Forman, OMB associate director for information technology and E-government. Lorentz's first responsibility will be oversight of the 24 programs in the Bush administration's E-government initiative; this requires Lorentz to work with 24 separate program managers and project teams. Lorentz also has oversight of the computer systems used in the government's Homeland Security efforts and will report to director of Homeland Security Tom Ridge in that capacity. Lorentz was with the Postal Service from 1994 to 2000, and oversaw that agency's Y2K efforts. After the Postal Service, he tried his hand in the dot-com world with a brief stay at online job-hunting portal EarthWeb (now known as Dice), before returning to the government payroll.

At the same time that Intel was reporting both a quarterly record for the number of processors shipped and a 77% drop in quarterly net income, the chipmaker said Paul Otellini had been promoted to president and chief operating officer. Otellini now shares executive office responsibilities with Intel CEO Craig Barrett. Otellini, a 27-year veteran of

the company, had been executive VP of the Intel Architecture Group, and before that executive VP of sales and marketing. Barrett was given the CEO spot in 1998 when Intel co-founder Andy Grove retired. Intel has a mandatory retirement age of 65; Barrett is 62, so speculation is that Otellini, 51, is being groomed for the CEO spot.

Speaking of moving up, BroadVision CIO Shawn Farshchi has been promoted to senior VP of the online procurement vendor's engineering and product-management division. Farshchi joined BroadVision last year from DHL Airways, where he was VP and CIO and led development of the package-delivery company's E-commerce and enterprise-resource planning initiatives. Farshchi is taking over some of the responsibilities of executive VP and GM Nancy Mills, who is leaving BroadVision for personal reasons.

PeopleSoft's Doug Merritt didn't waste any time hiring his own talent. Merritt is VP and general manager of the enterprise-application vendor's cash-cow Human Resources Management Systems product division, and last week he tapped Jenni Lehman as his VP of global product strategy. Lehman is an industry veteran; before coming to PeopleSoft, she was head of Gartner Research Group's HRMS practice. "Jenni is well-known and highly respected throughout the HR community as the premier human capital and collaborative workforce industry analyst," Merritt said in a statement. PeopleSoft brought in Merritt last month to head the HRMS division; before that, Merritt was CEO (and founder) of Icarian, a Sunnyvale, Calif., vendor of Internet-based workforce software.

Only two weeks after FleetBoston Financial's online banking system decided to double-credit or double-debit all online postings, Citibank experienced a similar problem with its direct-deposit system. And like FleetBoston, a Citibank spokesperson ascribes the problem to "operational error" (the FleetBoston person actually referred to "human error"). Citibank says the problem affected only a small percentage of customers and that it was corrected within hours.

My paycheck is direct-deposited in Citibank, and for a short while there I thought I'd won the lottery--the low end of the lottery, the very low end. Oh, Citibank, how cruel you can be! Don't be cruel by not sending me an industry tip, to jsoat@cmp.com, or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to talk about management changes, making good, or a billion-dollar IT budget, meet me at InformationWeek.com's Listening Post: informationweek.com/forum/johnsoat.

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