James P. Knight
Executive VP and Global CIO, Chubb
How long at Chubb: About 16 years at this insurer.
Most important career influencers: It's a combination of influences. My predecessor as global CIO at Chubb, June Drewry, helped redefine the role and prepare me for it. The senior business-unit executive to whom I report and have known for 16 years, Dino Robusto, taught me invaluable lessons about business leadership. And I keep in close touch with longtime friends, colleagues, and mentors who provide guidance.
Decision I wish I could do over: In certain cases, I dealt with performance issues slower than I should have. It serves you, the company, and the underperforming associate better to deal with performance issues rapidly, balancing the benefit of the doubt with reality.
On The Job
Size of IT team: 1,300
How I measure IT effectiveness: You can only effectively manage what you measure. To date, we've used fairly standard--and vague--metrics and dashboards to measure IT effectiveness, but they aren't enough. Over the past year, we've been establishing clear metrics for the expenditure of IT resources and the value contributions coming out of IT. The cornerstone of our new metrics is enterprise implementation of CA's Clarity across all of IT to track time and manage both demand and resources. Tools like this will help us build business cases for our projects, track the true cost of IT projects, and, in turn, create accurate measures of ROI.
Lesson learned from the recession: The recent recession has made the need for companies to invest more in technology greater than ever. Of course, it has to be the "right" technology--right for the business and not just for IT or for technology's sake.
What the federal government's top tech priority should be: I'd like to see the government work to improve our country's science, technology, engineering, and math education.Personal
Degrees: Utica College, BA degree in computer science; Kennedy-Western University, master of management information systems
Favorite president: Ronald Reagan, primarily because of his ability to lead, inspire, and communicate--also because of his philosophy and views
Last vacation: Turks and Caicos, scuba diving
Smartphone of choice: Right now, I have a new Apple iPhone 4S, which is phenomenal … but ask me again next month