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John Soat
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IT Confidential: Experience Counts—So Does A Law Degree

Laurette Bradley, senior VP, corporate systems and business planning, IT, at Verizon Communications, called me last week to take me to task for an item I ran two weeks ago about her comments at our recent InformationWeek Fall Conference. The item had Bradley complaining about the lack of involvement by IT, at least initially, in Verizon's rollout of its DSL service. Bradley pointed out to me on the phone that she was speaking at the conference about Verizon IT's involvement in the company's most recent bandwidth strategy, Fiber To The Premises, and how that compared with Verizon IT's involvement in the DSL strategy. Her points were these: FTTP is an enormous, multibillion-dollar, multiyear project for Verizon, and the IT involvement with that project has been handled very well--up front, very consistent, very successful. Verizon IT was not as thoroughly involved in DSL, says Bradley, and, therefore, there was more of a struggle. "If you're going to do something that big as a company, you better involve IT," Bradley says. "And Verizon has learned that lesson well."

Borders last week named Frederick Johnson as its senior VP and CIO. Johnson will head the the book-music-video retailer's IT team, "with special emphasis on furthering technologies that enhance the customer shopping experience and create selling opportunities, as well as enhance the effectiveness of the supply chain," according to a company statement. He'll report to Rick Vanzura, who's president of both Borders' corporate information technology group and of Waldenbooks. Before joining Borders, Johnson was CIO of online floral retailer

Jerrold Grochow has been appointed VP of IS and technology at MIT. Grochow is a significant figure in the development of the IT industry, having spent 27 years with American Management Systems, including a stint as chief technology officer (1992 to 1999). He's the author of Information Overload: Creating Value With The New Information Systems Technology (Prentice Hall, 1997). Since 1999, Grochow has been CTO of Foliofn, an online brokerage, and a consultant to the Treasury Department and the IRS.

Johns Hopkins University and the Johns Hopkins Health System have appointed Darren Lacey as chief information security officer. Lacey, 38, will report to Stephanie Reel, CIO for the university and the health system. "There's a lot of new privacy and security legislation that Hopkins is required to comply with, including several regulations dealing with student information and medical records," Lacey said in a statement. "The idea of this position was to coordinate the ways we protect our information, whether it's being stored or transmitted." Lacey's qualifications: training as a technologist and a law degree from Harvard.

Uh-oh--bad combination. You're not going to win an argument with this guy, no matter what side you take. But you can win me over with an industry tip, to or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to talk about aligning IT with the business, the online retail industry, or privacy versus security, meet me at's Listening Post:

To discuss this column with other readers, please visit John Soat's forum on the Listening Post.

To find out more about John Soat, please visit his page on the Listening Post.

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