Strategic CIO // Executive Insights & Innovation
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7/22/2009
11:03 AM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
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Hilton Hotels CIO Tim Harvey Exits; Hilton Was #2 On IW500

Hilton EVP and CIO Tim Harvey has left the company one year after Hilton was recognized as #2 in the InformationWeek 500 ranking. Hilton didn't give a reason for Harvey's departure, which follows a decade-long tenure marked by promotions and industry recognition. Did the recent addition of responsibility for corporate shared services dilute Harvey's ability to focus on CIO leadership?

Hilton EVP and CIO Tim Harvey has left the company one year after Hilton was recognized as #2 in the InformationWeek 500 ranking. Hilton didn't give a reason for Harvey's departure, which follows a decade-long tenure marked by promotions and industry recognition. Did the recent addition of responsibility for corporate shared services dilute Harvey's ability to focus on CIO leadership?Hilton's new CIO is former Equifax CIO Robert Webb (more on him below).

Harvey joined Hilton in 1999 following the acquisition of the Promus hotel chain, and was promoted to executive vice-president and CIO in January 2006. Two years later, in May 2008, he was given additional responsibilities for shared services for the company, and a cached version of Harvey's biography from the Hilton website says that encompassed "distribution functions."

Some CIOs believe that the coupling of their current responsibilities - which are increasingly focused more on external projects involving customers and the marketplace - with those of corporate shared services can prove to be a combustible mix. With those blended responsibilities, the CIO's ability to devote more time and energy to customer-facing issues can be hampered by the need to devote significant time and attention to internal matters that shared-services functions always demand.

Harvey's focus in recent years was clearly on contributing to the company's revenue growth and enhancing the experiences of its guests across Hilton's extensive list of brands. Here's how he put it in accepting Hilton's award as the #2 company on last year's InformationWeek 500 list:

"Hilton's legacy of commitment to innovation has been uniquely packaged to deliver superior customer service, improve our operational efficiencies, drive revenue throughout our properties around the globe, and establish a clear advantage for our brands. Winning this ranking creates quite a compelling story of success as we court new franchises and management deals around the world."

In a related comment regarding the IW500 award, Harvey added this comment:

"The roadway is littered with franchise businesses that fall apart because of low quality of service. One of the things that has caused companies to lose their luster over time is that they couldn't create the same cultural feel because they couldn't get consistency of execution. Technology can help you do that."

New Hilton CIO Webb will report to Paul Brown, who is president of Hilton Global Brands and Commercial Service. Before spending five years as CIO of Equifax, Webb held CIO positions across a few divisions at General Electric, and you can see his full background here.

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