CIO Profiles: Kirk Gutmann, Process Information Officer At General Motors

Gutmann -- process information officer for General Motors' Information & Systems, Global Manufacturing & Quality -- says broadband vehicle connectivity is one of the next big things for his industry.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

August 13, 2009

3 Min Read

Career Track

KIRK GUTMANNProcess Information Officer, General Motors' Information Systems & Services, Global Manufacturing & Quality

How long at current company: 11 years

Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: Driving CAD/CAM/CAT/ CAE and simulation technologies for the aerospace and automotive industries. This has moved the industry from paper-based to electronic-based product development for the entire product development cycle: from design to engineering to manufacturing.

Product design cycles have been reduced by over 70%, and product development tools have become fully integrated into an enterprise suite. Product development management tools plus CAD/CAM/CAE/CAT are now the repository for all product development information and intellectual property for corporations. These changes have redefined the way in which products are developed and manufactured, letting us develop collaboration tools that have changed how companies collaborate and drive product development.

Most important career influencers: Ralph Szygenda, the dean of CIOs. Also, my high school physics teacher, who opened the door to my career in engineering.

Decision I wish I could do over: I wish I'd developed more staff in the Asia-Pacific region quicker. The growth rates there have been five to six years faster than all the forecasts..


Advice for future CIOs: Know the business inside and out. Benchmark the best in all areas globally and those outside of your industry.

The next big thing for my industry will be ... alternative propulsion, broadband vehicle connectivity and entertainment, and vehicle personalization.

The best way for CIOs to cope with the economic downturn: Reduce costs, and stay focused on strategic initiatives.

The federal government's technology priorities should be ... security, improving broadband capability, R&D for power management and transmission, and electronic motors and systems for vehicles.

Kids and technology careers: I'd encourage a tech career. Technology is used in all areas of business, and it's a good foundation into other career paths.

On The Job

Size of IT team: 1,100

Top initiatives:
• Develop a quality data warehouse, using advanced data analytics to analyze emerging quality issues and identify patterns of emerging issues to allow quick resolution.
• Share manufacturing engineering data, using tools to distribute CAD models for manufacturing plant floor simulations.
• Implement common plant manufacturing execution systems as the core systems that link factory automation and ERP.

How I measure IT effectiveness: I look at cycle time, throughput, and cost per unit, as well as the competitive advantage we attain from a marketing and sales perspective.


Colleges/degrees: Purdue University, BS and MS in industrial engineering, and a master's in international finance

Leisure activities: Boating and golf

Favorite president: Ronald Reagan

Tech vendor CEO I respect most: Cisco's John Chambers

Smartphone: BlackBerry Bold

Least favorite corporate plunderer: Enron

If I weren't a process information officer, I'd be ... a cardiac surgeon

Never Miss a Beat: Get a snapshot of the issues affecting the IT industry straight to your inbox.

You May Also Like

More Insights