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John Parker, CIO, A.G. Edwards Inc.

A.G. Edwards, an InformationWeek 500 company, last month reported quarterly net earnings of $50 million, 23% higher than the same quarter a year ago. CIO John Parker says the IT department has nearly doubled its investment in revenue-producing activities.

John Parker, CIO, A.G. Edwards Inc. -- Photograph by Austin Walsh

Photograph by Austin Walsh

InformationWeek 500
John Parker
CIO, A.G. Edwards Inc.

1
Eureka Moment
"One of my first jobs was driving a lavatory truck in airports, [emptying] toilets on planes. Then, 18 years ago, my first child was born. As I stood holding her in the delivery room, I realized I'd have to do something different. I had to play to win, as opposed to playing not to lose."

2
Reading The Tea Leaves
Parker spend 17 years at Delta Airlines and then became CIO at Northwest Airlines. Last month, both companies filed for bankruptcy on the same day. "I took all the talent with me when I left."

3
Juggling Act
"I learned to juggle after I got sidelined by a high school football injury. Since then, I've used my juggling talent at management-training events to show the need to manage multiple projects simultaneously. My own job is more akin to ... spinning plates in the air, because you have to keep more things going."

4
International Challenge
"Of all the places I've done business, Ukraine is the most interesting. The differences in language and alphabet, plus the challenge of trying to negotiate business deals over shots of vodka, make it a fascinating place."

5
Radical Reorg
IT modernization and reorganization are propelling A.G. Edwards forward. This includes a new services-oriented architecture and analytics tools that let financial consultants do their jobs better. "To have IT leading the business is a radical shift, but it's become the norm."

Interview by Steven Marlin

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