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IT Confidential: On Innovation, Supply Chains, And Meetings

The head of IBM's new On Demand Innovation Services, VP Peggy Kennelly, says interest has been high from not only the R&D folks at client companies but also from business managers and executives "with the word 'innovation' in their titles." The 200-person unit lets clients work directly with IBM researchers and will be part of IBM's newly formed Business Consulting Services. Within that 60,000-person organization, Kennelly's group will have "more of a boutique feel rather than that of a large, broad service," she says. Kennelly's group initially will focus on areas in which IBM has had success, such as advanced analytics, because "a lot of data-happy businesses have been developed in our society, and they're compiling stuff from voice, data, Web, new data files, databases, and other sources, and they need the ability to mine all those disparate sources quickly and bring out answers." Kennelly, who comes from the Global Services side of IBM, says the company has worked hard to recruit researchers who want to see their work applied broadly and are excited not only by pure research but also by the possibility of that work leading to commercial use and success.

Supply-chain guru Gene Tyndall, co-author of the seminal tome Supercharging Supply Chains: New Ways To Increase Value Through Global Operational Excellence, has left Ryder System, where he was executive VP of global supply-chain solutions, to become associate director of the University of Miami's new Center for Advanced Supply Chain Management. Also, Tyndall, who before Ryder was head of Ernst & Young's supply-chain practice, is forming with several colleagues Supply Chain Executive Advisors, a consulting firm to advise execs on how to maximize supply-chain value.

SunTrust Banks last week tapped Tim Sullivan as executive VP and CIO. Sullivan, 52, will run SunTrust's enterprise information services division, a 4,500-employee unit that provides technology, operations, and support. Sullivan will report to vice chairman Theodore Hoepner; he will also be part of the company's management committee. Before SunTrust, Sullivan was executive VP and group technology executive at Wells Fargo in San Francisco.

Geoff Penney, executive VP and CIO of Charles Schwab, has been named to that company's Executive Committee. Penney manages Schwab Technology, which includes operations, telecommunications, and services, as well as client and business-applications development and support. He reports to Dawn Lepore, Schwab's vice chairman of technology, operations, and administration.

Is being on the executive committee a good thing? (I wouldn't know.) On the one hand, you get to attend the big meetings; on the other hand--more meetings. And you rarely hear any good industry gossip. But if you do, send it to, or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to talk about collaborating with vendors, supply-chain ins and outs, or executive committee meetings, meet me at's Listening Post:

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