Greener Grass In Financial Services - InformationWeek

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IT Leadership // CIO Insights & Innovation
Commentary
7/2/2008
03:47 PM
John Soat
John Soat
Commentary
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Greener Grass In Financial Services

As my colleague Marianne Kolbasuk McGee pointed out in a recent blog, while the financial services industry is under a dark cloud these days there appears to be green grass in some organizations (literally and figuratively), at least in terms of IT positions. Take a look at Fidelity Investments, which just hired two new tech chiefs away from competitors.

As my colleague Marianne Kolbasuk McGee pointed out in a recent blog, while the financial services industry is under a dark cloud these days there appears to be green grass in some organizations (literally and figuratively), at least in terms of IT positions. Take a look at Fidelity Investments, which just hired two new tech chiefs away from competitors.Earlier this week Fidelity Investments tapped Daniel Petrozzo as its new CIO. Petrozzo comes from Morgan Stanley, and replaces Steve Elterich, president of Fidelity's Technology Group, who retired from day-to-day operations earlier this year, according to an article by our sister publication, Wall Street & Technology .

Petrozzo will lead Fidelity's overall enterprise technology strategy and oversee the delivery and support of all internal and customer-facing technologies, according to the company. He'll report to Marvin Adams, president of Fidelity Shared Services.

Petrozzo formerly was co-global CIO and head of enterprise infrastructure for Morgan Stanley. In that role, Petrozzo managed Morgan Stanley's IT personnel globally across all business units and was responsible for technology infrastructure across the company.

"Technology is a critical component to Fidelity's success and ensuring our ability to enhance our operational efficiencies, while offering a superior customer experience," Adams said, in a statement. "Dan's proven expertise and ability to lead a dynamic IT organization will ensure Fidelity's position as a leading global financial services company."

Petrozzo has almost 25 years of technology experience in both the applications and infrastructure areas, according to Fidelity, and has held positions with technology and financial services companies including AT&T, StorageApps, and Deutsche Bank.

It's interesting to note that Petrozzo comes to the Fidelity CIO role from outside the company. That's a sore point within many IT organizations, according to the comments on a blog I wrote recently on the subject. Should organizations promote from within -- give a deserving VP of IT a shot at the CIO title and thereby display loyalty to the IT staff -- or hire from without, as Fidelity did, to bring new thought leadership to IT and, not coincidentally, tap into the IT strategies of a competitor?

And Fidelity didn't stop there: If one CIO is good for a company, then two should be twice as good, right?

Ronald DePoalo was made CIO of Fidelity's institutional products group. Formerly managing director and chief technology officer for Merrill Lynch's global wealth management practice, DePoalo will report to Michael Clark, president of Fidelity Institutional Products Group, and to Petrozzo.

Fidelity described his postion this way:

In his new role, DePoalo will be responsible for the global focus and leadership of Fidelity Institutional Products Group's internal and client-facing technology management and development, including such current projects as the $50 million Fidelity WealthCentral platform, an innovative wealth management workstation for Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services' more than 3,400 Registered Investment Advisor firm clients. "As our institutional clients rely on Fidelity more and more to provide them access to leading-edge technologies, Ron's background is perfectly suited to help us advance our capabilities to ensure we are delivering our clients the solutions they need to help them operate more efficiently and gain competitive advantage," said Clark.

DePoalo worked for Merrill Lynch for more than 20 years.

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