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CIO Profiles: In Their Own Words

IT leaders share their top priorities, biggest mistakes, and career dreams if they weren't a CIO.
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Executive VP and CIO, First Horizon National

How long at the financial services company: Two years.

Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: Leading a small group of people to start a new software product, a load origination system called LoanXchange, and seeing the product and people grow into a successful software company. It was ultimately acquired by Alltel information Services.

Most important career influencer: My father taught me two important lessons: Work hard and enjoy what you do, and make a positive contribution for people in whatever you do.

IT budget: $77 million

Size of IT team: 350 employees

Top initiatives:
• Core systems transformation: Replacements, upgrades, and renewals of nearly every core application system, branch delivery system, and channel direct system at First Horizon.
• IT infrastructure renewal: In anticipation of the new application systems, the IT infrastructure at First Horizon is being totally refreshed with new, state-of-the-art equipment.
• Data center insourcing: Positioning the data center for growth by consolidating from multiple vendor hosting sites to two internally managed centers.

How I measure IT effectiveness: I use a monthly scorecard containing quantitative and qualitative metrics for three items: IT operational service delivery quality, business value delivery (via project execution and resource management), and IT risk management.

Advice for future CIOs: Stay close to business leaders and their priorities to bring value to the company beyond quality IT operations. To do that, understand how to apply technology to help grow core product lines, and remember that the customer is the boss and strategies must result in winning customers.

The federal government's top technology priority should be ... to improve the technology infrastructure within the U.S. to keep pace with innovation around the globe. We're currently lagging other countries in broadband coverage and adoption.

Kids and technology careers: My kids are still a little young -- Lauren is 13 and Matt is 10 -- for a chosen career direction. I haven't really steered them one way or the other yet, but I definitely wouldn't discourage them from a technology career. There's so much potential within IT. Whether it's the convergence of social networking and mobile devices or the use of technology in microbiology, there will be a lot of exciting career options that blend exciting new technology innovations with future trends.

PERSONAL Colleges/degrees: Tennessee Technological University, BS in math, minor in computer science

Leisure activities: Spending time with my family, playing guitar, and reading

Tech vendor I respect most: Hewlett-Packard founder David Packard

Best book read recently: The Big Short, by Michael Lewis

If I weren't a CIO, I'd be ... running a personal business br />

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