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CIO Profiles: Tom Conophy Of InterContinental Hotels Group

This IT boss wishes he'd done one thing differently in his career.

InformationWeek Staff

February 2, 2012

3 Min Read

Career Track


Tom Conophy Executive VP and CIO, InterContinental Hotels


Tom Conophy
Executive VP and CIO, InterContinental Hotels

How long at InterContinental: Six years

Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: I've had the opportunity to be part of several large-scale system implementations; one that stands out is my first job, with an insurance company in Seattle, where I built an automated billing system on my own that's still in place. My initials are still watermarked into the system!

Biggest career influencer: Brad Boston, of Cisco, a fantastic mentor. Brad encouraged me to be particular about the challenges I took on and bold in delivering on them.

Decision I wish I could do over: I regret not venturing out on my own when I had industry-moving ideas.

On The Job

Size of IT team: More than 1,000 globally

Top initiatives:

  • Creating a new global reservation system to support business needs for 15 to 20 years.

  • Rewriting an in-house fleet management system that’s vital to one of the largest services we provide, helping us maximize operating cost savings and reduce downtime for our customers.

  • Focusing on security, including the integrity of our environment and protection of data.

Metrics used to measure success: We measure success against shareholder value, based on the Dow Jones World Hotels Index as well as a set of key performance indicators.

Vision

The next big thing for my industry will be ... variations of mobile computing. It's how people manage their lives already and isn't slowing down. We need to listen to our consumers,and make sense of that information, then use it to drive our business.

One thing I'm looking to do better: Technology should be simple and virtually invisible to our users with real-time data at their fingertips, regardless of device type.

Lesson learned from the recession: Keep pushing to make technology investments even in down times. Innovate, innovate, innovate!

Kids and technology: My wife, Jody, and I have three daughters. We didn't directly steer them toward tech careers, but they're naturally gravitating that way by immersion--technology is everywhere. One of my daughters won't eat in a restaurant without first checking out the Yelp ratings. They're up to speed--at times ahead of me--in regard to mobile technology and are examples of our next-generation hotel guests and owners, so I'd better pay attention.

Personal

Leisure activities: Skateboarding, travel, history

Favorite pro team coach: Vince Lombardi

Tech vendor CEO I respect the most: Scott McNealy of Sun Business

Pet Peeve: Lack of timely decision making

If I weren't a CIO, I'd be ... a pilot, computer science teacher, or pro baseball player

Ranked No. 25 in the 2011 InformationWeek 500

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