Strategic CIO // Executive Insights & Innovation
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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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CIO Of Levi Strauss

How long at Levi Strauss: Going on three years. Before that, I was with MGM Mirage and General Electric.

Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: My team, my peers, and I rallied to transition from regional and country-specific business models to one supporting our global brands. We bridged multiple cultures and operating rhythms into one highly performing global team.

Decision I wish I could do over: Too often, I've chosen an early-adopter approach to new technologies. I've found the risk more often than not outweighs the potential benefits. I'm now more likely to be a fast follower unless there's super-clear joint accountability.

Top initiatives:

  • Continued huge focus on our online presence, including e-commerce around the globe and expanding digital and social marketing.
  • Taking our product life-cycle management approach to the next level. PLM manages our product life cycle from concept and design through creation, sourcing, and optimization of our products. Improved speed to market offers a competitive advantage.
  • Extending our vendor-managed inventory approach across additional wholesale customers. VMI is where we manage the forecasting, inventory, and replenishment on the floor. Our existing VMI customer base has improved sales

How I measure IT effectiveness: I'm a big fan of the balanced scorecard, which we update monthly. We measure various metrics across IT, such as the benefits we deliver, stewardship items like budget vs. planning, maintenance spending, and more. We also take stock of user-experience metrics and operational metrics.

One thing I'm looking to do better: In the digital world, we must ensure we can provision infrastructure quickly, scale on demand, and provide experiences that drive sales. Speed and agility are what the consumer expects as well as what our supply chain and merchants want.

The federal government's top tech priority should be: Information security and preventing cyberwarfare to protect its citizens and our infrastructure. It should focus on things such as next-generation data loss prevention, encryption technologies, and robust disaster recovery planning for our technology and power grids.

Kids and technology careers: I'd absolutely steer kids toward tech careers. Technology isn't just about the tools. It's also about being business savvy. Having a tech career means you cross all functional areas and truly get to see the end-to-end processes.

Colleges/degrees: U.S. Naval Academy, BS in economics; Naval Postgraduate School, MS in management.

Leisure activities: Golf, biking, tennis, sailing, and spending as much time as possible with my children.

Business leader I'd like to have lunch with: Jeff Immelt, the CEO of GE--we overlapped and met at GE briefly 10 years ago, and he's been on quite the journey.

If I weren't a CIO, I'd ... still be in the U.S. Marine Corps, or I'd be a high school math teacher and baseball coach. Ranked No. 2 in the 2011 InformationWeek 500

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