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CIO Profiles: Maryann Goebel Of Fiserv

GM's Ralph Szygenda was a "tough love" coach for this CIO.

InformationWeek Staff

December 1, 2011

3 Min Read

Career Track

Maryann Goebel CIO and Executive VP, Fiserv

Maryann Goebel
CIO and Executive VP, Fiserv

How long at Fiserv: I've been at this provider of IT services to the financial services industry for a little over two years.

Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: The number of colleagues who have told me they've learned from me. Like most people, I don't realize at the time that I'm teaching--I feel that colleagues and I are learning together. But the number of times I've been told that has been significant, and each time has been humbling and rewarding.

Most important career influencer: Ralph Szygenda, the retired CIO for General Motors, has most influenced my career. I first worked in Ralph's organization at Texas Instruments in the early '90s as a program manager, and, after that, worked for him at GM as the CIO for North America. Over those 14 years, he saw my potential and always gave me opportunities to develop in significant ways. He was a "tough love" coach, mentor, and sponsor who always seemed to know when I was ready for the next opportunity long before I did!

On The Job

IT budget: $300 million

Size of IT team: More than 1,200

Top initiatives:

  • We're working on a multiyear initiative to consolidate data centers while transforming our enterprise technology organization into a highly leveraged, functionally designed one that delivers common, predictable, and measurable results.

  • We're implementing best-practice processes, tools, and structure in the area of resource management.

  • We're rolling out SAP billing, procurement, accounts payable, and reporting capabilities across Fiserv, to more than 19,000 employees.

How I measure IT effectiveness: IT should be measured in the context of its mission. For example, IT as a percentage of revenue isn't relevant to all IT organizations. There are five areas that IT effectiveness should be measured on: achievement of strategy, delivering capability, operational excellence, financial stewardship, and employee engagement and development. These five items are the basis of our scorecard every year.


One thing I'm looking to do better: One specific area of focus for us is the reduction, if not elimination, of human and process errors.

The federal government's top tech priority should be ... information security. It requires collaboration across the ecosystem of information security stakeholders, particularly the public and private sectors. Such collaboration can produce positive results like the recent Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council Guidance on Authentication, a positive step to increase confidence in online and mobile banking and payments.


Colleges/degrees: Worcester Polytechnic Institute, BS in mathematics

Leisure activities: Ballroom dancing, gourmet cooking, and reading

Business leader I'd like to have lunch with: Indra Nooyi, CEO at Pepsi

Business-related pet peeve: How long it can take to reach a decision

Smartphone of choice: BlackBerry Torch

If I weren't a CIO, I'd be... an interior designer

Ranked No. 27 in the 2011 InformationWeek 500

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