CIO Values: Robert Keefe, senior VP and CIO, Mueller Water Products

Keefe is also the current president of the Society for Information Management

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

February 13, 2008

2 Min Read

Career Track

Robert KeefeSenior VP and CIO, Mueller Water ProductsPresident, Society for Information Management

How long at current company: 11 months

Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: With a deep understanding of the businesses I've been in, I've been asked several times to step out of IT to temporarily run a manufacturing facility and a distribution facility, and to be part of product development and marketing teams.

Most important career influencer: While at Brookhaven National Laboratory, I learned from both staff researchers and visiting scientists (including Nobel laureates) that breadth and depth of knowledge are equally important.

How I measure IT effectiveness:

  • Achieve the highest level of involvement/accountability with management, staff, and business partners in new IT initiatives while flawlessly maintaining current systems and technologies.

  • Are we improving faster than the competition and exceeding our customers' expectations?

On The Job

IT budget: Between 1% and 2% of revenue

Size of IT team: 100-plus (including contractors and outsourced groups)

Three top initiatives for current year:

  • Develop an overall IT strategy, highly aligned to our business strategy

  • Continue to upgrade our people, processes, and technologies

  • Seek to achieve a balanced portfolio of IT initiatives

View on benefits of offshore outsourcing: My SIM colleagues would agree that while lower costs are available for selected areas of IT management, only a small fraction of IT has been moved offshore. So significant IT staffing continues to be required domestically, and it is a great career choice!


The next big thing for my business will be ... the accelerated replacement of North America's aging water infrastructure.

Best piece of advice for future CIOs: One, understand your profession, your business, and your organization, so you can truly deliver valuable systems, technologies, and business processes. Two, practice purposeful discontentment; strive to continuously improve. Three, leadership and customer satisfaction always go together.


Colleges/degrees: Bachelor's from the State University of New York at Oswego; master's of business administration from Pace University

Best book read recently: Boiling The IT Frog, by Harwell Thrasher

Last vacation: Skiing with family in January

If I weren't a CIO I would be ... researching the scientific mysteries of existence.

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