Each year, the InformationWeek team looks forward to selecting a Chief of the Year. I'll admit, it's not always an easy process because there are many great business-technology leaders who stand out in a crowd. In choosing an honoree, we typically look for a variety of attributes: leader, innovator, mentor (inside a company and in his or her community), risk taker, opportunity seeker, collaborator (again, inside and outside the company), and business-savvy manager (the ability to steer through a tough economy while maintaining vision for the future). This year, we selected a group of individuals who have many of these characteristics, along with two more traits that stand out: guts and compassion. It's fitting. The chiefs we chose this year were directly or strongly affected by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.
While they might have imagined such an event in broad, what-if scenarios, even the best contingency planners could never have expected something of the magnitude of jet planes crashing into the World Trade Center-or that the powerful structures that defined the Manhattan skyline could actually crumble. Understanding the remarkable achievements of these people and their co-workers in the days following the disaster is testimony to their powerful leadership skills.
Our winners, in alphabetical order, are: Ravi Apte, CTO at the American Stock Exchange, who cares about helping his staff achieve balance in work and life; Steven Bass, senior VP of IT at the New York Board of Trade, who knows all too well that lightning can strike twice and planned accordingly; Greg Burnham, CTO at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, who kept his team together as their nerves began to fray; Rob Carter, CIO at FedEx, whose mantra for flawless systems performance was critical for keeping its customers' business running; Ellen Clarke, CIO at Marsh Inc., who has built a familial culture among her team; Nancy Karen, CIO at Sidley Austin Brown & Wood, who kept people focused among the chaos; and Janet Wejman, CIO at Continental Airlines, whose planning skills made for a softer landing. Stories of their achievements begin on page 28.
We also pay tribute to Wendy Faulkner, former VP and managing director of IT at Aon Risk Services. Sadly, her life was lost on Sept. 11, but her legacy of teamwork and charity remains strong. I'm sure her two daughters are extremely proud of and inspired by their mother's achievements.