Don't underestimate the importance of collaboration, alignment, and internal partnership, he advises.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

January 16, 2009

3 Min Read

Career Track


CTO, MasterCard Global Technology and Operations
Has CPA--and a garage band

How long at current company: 21 years

Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: Being part of the management team that transformed MasterCard into a public company in 2006. While there was no single event, there was collective focus on operational excellence, systems integration, customer service, and financial rigor. I contributed to these elements, which helped position MasterCard to deliver shareholder value.

Most important career influencer: My father taught me the importance of building relationships and treating people with dignity and respect. And Jerry McElhatton, former president of the MasterCard technology and operations division, taught me the importance of stretching beyond my comfort zone.

Decision I wish I could do over: As a financial officer earlier in my career, I saw all the signs that a project was heading south, but I kept it going longer than I should have. I learned the importance of failing fast and redirecting resources and dollars to more mission-critical projects.


Advice for future CIOs: Hone your knowledge from both the technology side and the business side; you need to understand a business challenge and apply your special expertise to provide a solution. Don't underestimate the importance of collaboration, alignment, and internal partnership. Ground yourself in the financials, and exert a positive attitude and energy.

The next big thing for my industry will be: mobile phones as payment devices. Global annual mobile phone payments are expected to grow more than tenfold between 2008 and 2013, according to Juniper Research.

On The Job

Top three initiatives: Our overall goal is to use technology to make every payment transaction more valuable for MasterCard and our financial institution customers.

  • Multiprotocol Label Switching: This initiative enhances our ability to transport different data streams over the same infrastructure. With this, we standardize common network management processes, simplify network design, and further improve cost efficiency and service quality.

  • Core Systems Application Consolidation: Under this program, we're migrating customers to the global MasterCard Worldwide Network, boosting both our revenue and theirs.

  • Cost-Effective Operational Excellence: We always try to improve the MasterCard Worldwide Network, which processed 18.7 billion transactions in 2007. As good as our network is, we strive to make it better.

How I measure IT effectiveness: "You can't change what you don't measure," as the adage goes. We measure platform performance against Six Sigma; we compute transaction volume globally. In 2008, MasterCard won the Connect (formerly International Tandem User Group) NonStop Availability Award for the fourth time in five years.


Colleges/degrees: Fordham University, bachelor's degree in accounting; CPA certification in New York state

Leisure activity: Composing and playing music; computers

Favorite President: George Washington, because history tells us he was a good delegator and good at judging talent and character. He strived for consensus--some of his Cabinet meetings were run as debates so he could weigh opinions and arguments before making a decision.

If I weren't a CIO, I'd be a struggling musician--and I am one! Our site's at

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