CIO Profile: Michael Capone Of Automatic Data Processing

This tech chief was greatly influenced by one of the first people to carry the title of CIO--his father.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

October 27, 2011

3 Min Read

Career Track

Michael CaponeCIO, Automatic Data Processing

How long at current company: I've been at ADP, which offers business outsourcing options, for 23 years.

Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: I successfully made the transition from IT into operations and managed a global business operation for ADP. The global role provided me a wealth of knowledge and experience that has helped me transition into my current role of CIO.

Most important career influencer: My father, who was one of the first executives to ever carry the title of CIO (at J.C. Penney). He worked his way up to that position from a programming job. My father was raised by a single mother and largely grew up on welfare. After military service, he worked and went to school at night to get an accounting degree. He got involved in IT when the company he worked for, Standard Oil, bought a mainframe and administered an aptitude test to their employees to see who might make a good programmer. His example taught me that I can be whatever I wanted to be in this world and that it would be up to me to make it happen.

Decision I wish I could do over: In 1999, when I was young and single, I passed on a dot-com job that would have made me financially independent at an early age. There are certain times in your career when you're in a position to take risks. I've also seen this lesson play out in large organizations such as ADP. If you're confident in your abilities, don't be afraid to take a chance.

On The Job

IT budget: $1.1 billion

Size of IT team: 5,000

Top initiatives:


One thing I'm looking to do better: Predictive analytics. There is so much data available today, and we're just scratching the surface of how to make use of it. For example, if your small business starts adding employees rapidly, we'd know you'll be more likely to buy a 401(k) plan.

Lesson learned from the recession: One of the best times to innovate is during a downturn. When your competitors are focused on cutting costs, leap over them.

Kids and tech careers: While I wouldn't discourage a tech career, you should find your own way in life. It took me until my junior year in college to declare my major.


Colleges/degrees: Dickinson College, BS in computer science; Pace University, MBA in finance

Leisure activities: Travel

Favorite pro sports team manager: Joe Torre did what all CIOs need to be able to do--deal with a demanding boss and manage a group of people with very large egos

Tech vendor CEO I respect the most: Joe Tucci from EMC

Business pet peeve: "Reply to all"

If I weren't a CIO, I'd be ... CEO at a charity or nonprofit

Ranked No. 7 in the 2011 InformationWeek 500

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