Here are 25 of the most innovative CIOs leading their companies' strategies in cloud computing, cybersecurity, and AI, according to experts and their peers (FDX, WMT, JPM, GM, NOW, USD, TGT, ADSK)


CIO in cloud 2 1

  • The role of the CIO has become broader and more complicated with the rise of the cloud and new enterprise IT technologies and trends.
  • CIOs today have more things to worry about: Should they move everything to the cloud and abandon in-house data centers, or keep some data and applications on premise? Does their network have enough protection against cyberthreats?
  • We asked experts, including execs from tech giants, industry analysts and longtime tech observers which CIOs are making smart moves and making a difference in the enterprise cloud era. Here are 25 names that came up.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

The job of the chief information officer was simpler about 20 years ago. CIOs focused mainly on managing servers and the office PCs, deciding which software to use, and making sure the IT team in the company data center had everything they needed.

The cloud and other big trends in enterprise IT changed that — dramatically. 

Today, CIOs have much more to think and worry about. Should they move everything to the cloud and abandon in-house data centers, or keep some data and applications on premise? Does their network have enough protection against cyberthreats? Is time to start thinking seriously about using artificial intelligence? 

It’s a tougher role, increasingly complex and challenging. We checked with experts from the tech industry — including tech giants, Wall Street analysts, and verteran industry observers who witnessed the rise of the cloud — on the CIOs who have thrived in this new era of enterprise IT.

Here are 25 CIOs who were nominated by their peers, industry experts, and tech suppliers for making smart choices and making a difference in the enterprise cloud era:

Rob Carter, FedEx

Rob Carter, who won the Forbes CIO Innovation Award earlier this year, got a shoutout from tech giants like Oracle, ServiceNow and VMware who praised him for modernizing IT at the delivery services giant. “He is a leader driving innovation with things like smart shipping and smart packaging, pioneering Internet of Things for the industry,” his fellow CIO, Bask Iyer of VMware, told Business Insider.

Randy Mott, General Motors

Randy Mott had served as CIO of  Walmart, Dell and Hewlett-Packard before taking on that role at General Motors in 2012. IDC President Crawford Del Prete said Mott has helped guide the transformation of GM “in a cloud-enabled world by actually bringing core capabilities back into the firm.”

Lori Beer, JP Morgan Chase

Lori Beer was named global CIO of JP Morgan Chase in 2017 after serving in that role for the financial services giant’s corporate and investment bank unit. “She is running IT at arguably one of the most innovative financial services firms,” IDC President Crawford Del Prete told Business Insider.

Chris Bedi, ServiceNow

Chris Bedi, who has been with cloud software giant ServiceNow since 2015, got a shout from fellow CIO Bask Iyer of VMware. In fact, Bedi is known as a CIO thought leader, having written extensively and discussed in news coverage the growing importance of that role. “Business strategy and the technology strategy are no longer separate things,” he told Forbes recently. “IT is one of the few departments that has a bird’s eye view of everything going on in the organization.”

Linda Jojo, United Airlines

Linda Jojo joined United Airlines as CIO in 2014 and her role was subsequently expanded in 2017 when she was named chief digital officer. In endorsing her to Business Insider, fellow CIO Chris Bedi of ServiceNow called Jojo “the poster child for the customer-centric CIO,” citing her team’s work in providing mobile technology to 60,000 employees.

Shankar Arumugave, Verizon Communications

Shankar Arumugave has served in several CIO roles at Verizon organization before becoming global CIO in 2017. He is a “visionary who helped put Verizon onto the cloud and the next generation infrastructure,” Wall Street analyst Daniel Ives of Wedbush told Business Insider.

Jane Moran, Unilever

Jane Moran was CIO at Thomson Reuters before taking on that role at Unilever, the London-based consumer goods giant. She’s helped Unilever embrace new trends like the Internet of Things and digitizing key functions, Salesforce told Business Insider in an email. Unilever is a Salesforce client.

Clay Johnson, Walmart

Clay Johnson was named Walmart CIO in 2017 after serving in senior IT positions at Boeing, Dell and General Electric. Johnson is “a role model CIO” whose IT leadership has propelled Walmart “ahead of its competitors,” Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives told Business Insider.  Johnson was named 2018 CIO of the year by CIO Dive, which praised him for boosting “content delivery speed by two or three times, giving employees in different business units more confidence in their work.” 

Mike McNamara, Target

Mike McNamara is CIO of Target, one of the country’s largest retailers. Under McNamara, the company has embraced new technologies including AI “for things like supply chain optimization and identifying products on their e-commerce site,” a major tech company, which is one of Target’s key technology suppliers, told Business Insider.

Mindy Simon, Conagra

Mindy Simon has been CIO of Conagra since 2017. She has helped the 100-year-old company with more than 100 popular food brands like Marie Callender’s, Orville Redenbacher and Slim Jim, use data to adapt to a changing market where consumers have many more options, Salesforce told Business Insider in an email: “Data is at the core of Mindy’s strategy.” Conagra is a Salesforce client.

Scott Rice, Sprint

Scott Rice is a 19-year veteran of Sprint and became the telecommunications giant’s CIO in 2016. Under his leadership, Spring was named to the 2018 CIO 100 list of CIO Magazine which cited company’s work in defending against fraud and hackers.

Kiran Vankamamidi, Driscoll’s

Kiran Vankamamidi joined Discroll’s in 2017 and became CIO of the California-based seller of berries last year. Salesforce praised the work he has done in “automating core business processes.” Driscoll’s is a Salesforce customer.

Wendy Pfeiffer, Nutanix

Wendy Pfeiffer is a veteran technology executive who is often included in “most powerful women in tech” lists, according to The New Stack. She also served as CIO of GoPro. Pfeiffer got a shout out from Moveworks, a cloud based, AI-powered IT support services startup, whose CEO Bhavin Shah described her as “very innovative and has had a lot of impact on our product and how to think about this space.” Nutanix is a Moveworks customer.


Prakash Kota, Autodesk

Prakash Kota has been with Autodesk for 14 years and took on the CIO post last year. He’s big on pushing AI to improve worker productivity by using technology to take on repetitive tasks. Kota was endorsed by Moveworks, a cloud based, AI-powered IT support services startup. CEO Bhavin Shah praised Kota’s work with startups, saying he has “visiblity into every bit of innovation coming out Silicon Valley.” Autodesk is a Moveworks customer.


Tony Leon, Decathlon USA

Tony Leon has been with Decathlon, a major sporting goods designer and retailer, since 2006. He became CIO three years ago. Leon is known for radically changing the way Decathlon retail stores operate by having associates “help customers as opposed to being stuck behind a cash wrap waiting to process transactions with a clunky old POS,” he told CIO Magazine.

Myra Davis, Texas Children’s Hospital

Myra Davis has been with Texas Children’s Hospital since 2002 and became its CIO in 2012. She’s been “the driving force behind their recent data center transformation that will provide the digital foundation” for improving service to patients, Phil Davis, president of Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s hybrid IT business, told Business Insider. Texas Children’s Hospital is an HPE customer.

Ben Haines, Verizon

Ben Haines was an executive at Yahoo and Box before becoming CIO of Verizon Media in 2017. Haines “has been one of the top CIOs in adopting technology, embracing the cloud before it was sexy,” analyst Ray Wang of Constellation Research told Business Insider.

Andy Nallapan, Broadcom

Andy Nallapan has been CIO of Broadcom since 2016 and is known for stressing the importance of automation in enterprise operations. He also served as CIO of Avago Technologies. Bhavin Shah, CEO of Moveworks, a cloud based, AI-powered IT support services startup, said Nallapan runs “one of the most efficient IT teams we’ve seen.” Broadcom is a Moveworks customer.


Jim Fowler, Nationwide

Jim Fowler was CIO at General Electric before taking on the same role at Nationwide. “Jim is the driving force behind Nationwide’s transformation from legacy systems to modern apps,” Salesforce told Business Insider in an email. GE is a Salesforce customer.

Mike Rodgers, Pilot Flying J

Mike Rodgers became chief strategy and information officer of Pilot Flying J in 2015. The Tennessee-based company is the largest operator of travel centers and travel plazas in North America. Rodgers has won praise for his focus on mobile technology, highlighted by development of the Pilot Flying J app which, according to Salesforce, “has been making the lives of truck drivers more efficient than ever before.” Pilot Flying J is a Salesforce customer.

Alan Talbot, Air Malta

Alan Talbot has been CIO of Air Malta since 2016. Under his leadership, the national airline “is unlocking valuable customer data trapped across siloed legacy systems using APIs in order to offer personalized services, operate efficiently and take advantage of emergent technologies,” Salesforce told Business Insider. Air Malta is a Salesforce customer.

Bill Graff, Cerner

Bill Graf has been CIO of Cerner, the health information technology company, since 2016. Phil Davis, president of Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s hybrid IT business, said Graf is nown for “consistently providing feedback” on ways to “strengthen hardware, software, services and cloud connectivity” as the company looks to address the needs of more than 27,500 hospitals and clinics. Cerner is an HPE customer.

Tony Costa, Bumble Bee

Tony Costa is CIO of the seafood giant Bumble Bee. He helped lead a key initiative to use blockchain “to trace yellowfin tuna from the remote islands of Indonesia to consumers’ finished good package,” SAP Senior Vice President John McGee told Business Insider. Bumble Bee is an SAP customer.

Darryl West, HSBC

Darry West is CIO of HSBC, a major international bank with 39 million customers and 235,000 employees. West is “driving the full company transformation” of HSBC, and is managing the change “while meeting the strict regulations of a global financial institution,” a major tech company, which is one of HSBC’s technology suppliers, told Business Insider in an email. Under West, HSBC was also named to the 2018 CIO 100 list. 

Dick Daniels, Kaiser Permanente

Dick Daniels is an 11-year veteran of Kaiser Permanente where he was named CIO in 2015. Phil Davis, president of Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s hybrid IT business, describes Daniels as “very focused on working to digitally transform Kaiser.” Daniels was inducted this year into the CIO Hall of Fame for his contributions to technology. Kaiser Permanente is an HPE customer.