Roy Dunbar

A lack of IT experience didn't keep Eli Lilly's former CIO from changing the way the company uses technology.

David Ewalt, Contributor

December 13, 2003

2 Min Read

Dunbar gives most of the credit for his achievements to his staff. "If I'm judged to be a success in this role, it's because of a whole team of individuals," he says.

And that organization is now ready to fill Dunbar's big shoes. The newly appointed CIO, Mike Heim, joined Lilly in 1979 as a systems analyst, has held positions in IT supporting nearly every aspect of the company's business, and served as chief technology officer since 2002. Dunbar sees Heim's appointment as a sign of his success. "I have an enormous sense of pride in the fact that the person who follows me is someone who was born and bred and evolved in Lilly IT."

In turn, the IT department is encouraged that Dunbar will continue to promote its interests. "He's back in the business, and he is informed about technology," Bingham says. "I hope he has captured some technological vision, and now that he's in an operating position he can help implement those ideas."

Something else Dunbar will take to his new job is the naval painting in his office. "To me, it's a statement on leadership in our world," he says. "This is a 15th-century galleon, something that Columbus would have sailed. He was told that the earth is flat, that he'd fall off the edge, but he still went out there anyway, and to me this is a statement on effective leadership and what one needs to do to succeed. You can emphasize that there are dangers out there, many unknowns, people telling you that something bad is going to happen. But you still have to do it sometimes."

It's also a reminder that sometimes you have to do the unexpected in order to succeed. Look closely at the painting and you'll see a tiny detail, barely visible: On the back of the skiff in which the captain is escaping the wreck, there's an outboard motor chugging away. Smart use of technology saves the day--again.

Photographs of Roy Dunbar by Bob Stefko

Continue to the sidebars: "Drug Discovery: Technology Plays An Important Role" and "Dunbar: Working To Better Understand Himself"

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