What's In A Name: Does CIO Still Resonate? - InformationWeek

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IT Leadership // CIO Insights & Innovation
Commentary
11/7/2007
04:20 PM
John Soat
John Soat
Commentary
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What's In A Name: Does CIO Still Resonate?

Companies continue to see value in the title of CIO, at least to judge from a news announcement earlier this week.

Companies continue to see value in the title of CIO, at least to judge from a news announcement earlier this week. Brown Shoe Co., which operates the retail chain Famous Footwear, appointed Joe Caro to the newly created position of senior VP and CIO, according to a statement by the company.

"Our IT infrastructure is critical to serving our customers, operating efficiently, and implementing our plans for growth," said Brown Shoe Chief Talent Officer, Doug Koch.

Chief talent officer? Brown Shoe would seem to have a flair for titles.

Caro comes to Brown Shoe from CitiGroup, where he was senior VP and CTO (chief technology officer, not chief talent officer) for its CitiFinancial International division. Prior to that, he was VP of Internet technology solutions for MasterCard, and before that director of banking and online brokerage technology for Edward Jones. Before that he was with Accenture.

Caro will be responsible for aligning Brown Shoe's technology strategy with the company's growth plans, and managing a worldwide team of technology specialists, according to the statement: "Caro will also play a key role in managing and enhancing technology for Brown Shoe."

Brown Shoe's CTO (so to speak) Koch said: "Joe's talent and experience will add value to our existing framework and strengthen our platform as we build for the future."

Some observers wonder if the CIO title might be morphing into something other than chief information officer, to reflect less emphasis on technology and more on business leadership, something such as chief innovation officer, which some companies have already adopted, such as Dupont. Also, the CIO position itself might be changing, moving closer to a chief operating officer (COO) role, some observers suggest.

What do you think? Is CIO still viable, or is it time for something new?

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