25 leading women breaking the CIO mould

7 Apr 2017

The CIO role is typically dominated by men, but there are plenty of remarkable women at the top of this profession. Image: 55Ohms/Shutterstock

There are 25 women on this industry-spanning list of CIOs. That’s 10 more than the percentage found in all Fortune 500 companies.

Last year, a Korn Ferry Institute study of the largest companies in the US found that only 24pc of those in C-suite roles were women. When it came to the role of chief information officer (CIO), that number dropped to 19pc.

“Having gender equality in the CIO role is already top of mind for CEOs and boards. We expect this focus to continue for years to come as the CIO creates greater strategic impact across organisations,” said Craig Stephenson from Korn Ferry when this data was released.

Table of Women in the C-Suite: CEO, CFO, CIO, CMO and CHRO roles

Image: Korn Ferry Institute

Singling out Fortune 500 companies, Boardoom Insiders found an even smaller female CIO headcount of 15pc as of November 2016. However, the top 100 of these companies manage to hit 20pc, which aligns with other research indicating that companies with gender-diverse leadership prove to be more profitable.

These studies and more like them have ensured more focus is being paid to closing the gender gap in business leadership, putting diversity on the boardroom agenda.

And so, because representation matters in the battle for gender diversity in tech, we have drawn up this long list of women CIOs (plus a handful of exceptions in CIO-adjacent roles who continue to influence in this space).

We found CIOs with interesting stories, spanning a broad spectrum of industry in this technical role. Many are directing IT strategy at world-famous brands and Fortune 500 companies and, with decades upon decades of experience between them, have served as pioneers for women in tech.

Pam Parisian

As CIO of AT&T Services, Tennessee native Pam Parisian is one of a select few female CIOs at Fortune 500 companies. Parisian’s standing in the tech industry is such that she was inducted into the Women in Technology hall of fame in 2015.

In recent years, she has been entrusted to lead AT&T’s integration of DirecTV, which was acquired in 2015. The initial effort involved more than 3,300 IT people and 2m hours of code.

Linda Clement-Holmes

Linda Clement-Holmes, CIO, P&G

Linda Clement-Holmes. Image: Linda Clement-Holmes/LinkedIn

Linda Clement-Holmes is CIO of P&G, having assumed the role in October 2015. Originally joining the company in 1983, her previous roles at P&G have included chief diversity officer, SVP of global business services, and global information and decision solutions officer.

A well-regarded leader, Clement-Holmes has been touted as a future CEO of the $65bn company.

Sheila Jordan

Sheila Jordan is CIO and SVP at cybersecurity company Symantec. With more than three years in the role to date, she currently oversees more than 600 IT employees.

Jordan’s role has seen her work on the company’s two major acquisitions in the past few months – spending $4.6bn on Blue Coat and $2.3bn on LifeLock. A winner at the San Francisco CIO of the Year Awards in 2015, Jordan recently explained her role as that of integrating these two businesses into Symantec’s operation.

Marcy Klevorn

Marcy Klevorn, CIO, Ford

Marcy Klevorn, CIO, Ford. Image: Ford

Named CIO of Ford in 2015, Marcy Klevorn originally started out in marketing with AT&T after earning a business degree from University of Michigan. She retrained in computer science and shifted towards Ford and, often thanking her lack of a technologist path, excelled.

Klevorn recently spoke of her interest in the people side of work, claiming that interpersonal skills are as important as technical ability. She is also an advocate of encouraging more women into the tech industry.

Aarti Shah

Aarti Shah

Aarti Shah, senior VP and CIO, Eli Lilly. Still from ‘Employers Discuss The Demand For Statisticians’. Image: This Is Statistics/YouTube

Having joined Eli Lilly in 1994 as a senior statistician, Aarti Shah rose up the ranks to her appointment as senior vice-president and CIO in 2016. Prior to her current role, she served a three-year stint as Eli Lilly’s global brand development leader for immunology. Now, she leads an IT organisation of 1,300 employees.

In 2011, Shah received the Rising Star Award from Healthcare Businesswoman’s Association for her contribution to the sector.

Paula Tolliver

Paula Tolliver

Paula Tolliver, corporate VP and CIO, Intel. Image: Intel

In an effort to recruit top talent from outside its own company, Intel hired former Dow Chemical corporate VP and CIO, Paula Tolliver, to succeed Kim Stevenson as CIO in August of last year.

Over the past 20 years, Tolliver has become well known for her understanding of cybersecurity, having led Dow Chemical’s $1bn services business.

Kim Stevenson

Kim Stevenson

Senior VP and general manager of Lenovo’s data centre infrastructure, Kim Stevenson. Image: Kim Stevenson/Twitter

Kim Stevenson has risen to become one of the biggest names in the data centre business having recently been confirmed as the new senior VP and general manager of Lenovo’s data centre infrastructure.

Stevenson spent the previous seven-and-a-half years at Intel where she was not only CIO, but also COO of its rapidly growing IoT and System Architecture Group, and was credited with earning $351m for the company in 2015.

Sharon Cooper

Sharon Cooper, The BMJ

The BMJ CDO, Sharon Cooper. Image: The BMJ

According to CIO Magazine, there are only two CIOs in the UK ranking higher than Sharon Cooper at The BMJ (originally known as the British Medical Journal). In her role as chief digital officer at the renowned medical journal, Cooper is transitioning the traditional publishing business into the digital age, particularly within new cloud technology.

Cooper was also named as a finalist for a Digital Leader of the Year award in this year’s Women in IT Awards.

Diana McKenzie

Diana McKenzie, Workday CIO

Diana McKenzie, SVP and CIO, Workday. Image: Workday

Workday SVP Diana McKenzie is the first ever CIO of the software solutions company, appointed in early 2016. With a background in information systems roles, McKenzie held the CIO position at pharma firm Amgen before joining Workday.

Responsible for development of the company’s products, technologies and computer programs, McKenzie is focused on developing best practice for global information services organisations. She is a regular fixture on the Workday blog, offering her take on business transformation.

Jane Moran

Jane Moran, Unilever CIO

Jane Moran, global CIO, Unilever. Image: Unilever

Jane Moran has been global CIO at Unilever since June 2014, moving to the consumer goods company after her global CIO role at Thomson Reuters. Having begun her career in venture capital, she soon discovered a passion for IT, which put her on the CIO track.

Overseeing development of emerging technologies and day-to-day tech development at Unilever, Moran sees herself as a foundation builder, enabling her colleagues to deploy the latest technologies.

Sarah Wilkinson

Sarah Wilkinson

Home Office CIO Sarah Wilkinson. Still from ‘O2 and Wayra Event – How digital start-ups can help the public sector do more for their citizens’. Image: 02ukbusiness/YouTube

Upon her appointment as CIO for the Home Office in the UK government in 2015, CIO Magazine described Sarah Wilkinson as having “ushered in an era of major transformation”.

Under her command, the Home Office has delivered several new systems including biometric residency permits and counter-terrorism capabilities. She has also reinvigorated the government’s e-Borders programme for travel and immigration, expected to come into force in 2019 after eight years of delays.

Cynthia Stoddard

Cynthia Stoddard, Adobe CIO

Cynthia Stoddard, Adobe CIO and SVP. Image: Adobe

Appointed as CIO and SVP of Adobe in June 2016, Cynthia Stoddard came to the role from the same position at data storage and management firm NetApp. She has more than 25 years in the industry, incorporating a number of IT and technical leadership roles.

At Adobe, Stoddard leads the strategy, development and deployment of scalable technology and business infrastructure for the cloud platform business. She also has responsibility for global strategy to support customer experience.

Fumbi Chima

Fumbi Chima, CIO, Burberry.

Fumbi Chima, CIO, Burberry. Image: SAPPHIRE NOW/YouTube

Based in London, Fumbi Chima has been the CIO of Burberry for more than a year. She is also a board member of global affairs media network Diplomatic Courier.

Chima made the move to Burberry after more than five years at Walmart in various roles, most recently as CIO for Walmart Asia. Chima is also passionate about women in STEM and was included in the 2014 Hall of Fame for STEM.

Barbara Koster

Barbara Koster, CIO of Prudential Financial Inc.

Barbara Koster, CIO of Prudential Financial Inc. Image: irishamerica.com

Barbara Koster is senior vice-president and CIO of Prudential Financial Inc, parent company to Pramerica. She has been in her CIO position for the past 13 years and was made SVP in 2011.

As head of the company’s global business and technology solutions department, Koster has oversight responsibility for cybersecurity, technology governance, architecture and standards at Prudential locations worldwide. She also leads Prudential’s office of Veteran Initiatives, a programme that helps veterans transition from military to civilian life.

Susan O’Day

Susan O'Day, Disney

Susan O’Day EVP and CIO, Disney. Image: dentsu-ho.com

After more than 10 years as CIO at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Susan O’Day became executive vice-president and CIO of The Walt Disney Corporation in 2008 and has been there ever since.

In 2016, she won the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Award from Special Olympics Florida due to her fundraising efforts and work for intellectual disability inclusion.

Sigal Zarmi

Sigal Zarmi, global CIO, PwC.

Sigal Zarmi, global CIO, PwC. Image: PwC

Based in New York, Sigal Zarmi became CIO of the PwC network in January 2015. Before joining PwC, she was CIO at GE Capital and spent 17 years in a number of leadership roles, managing different aspects of operations, technology and data services at the company.

In March 2017, Zarmi was honoured in Computerworld’s Premier 100 Technology Leadership Awards.

Sabine Everaet

Sabine Everaet, Coca-Cola

Sabine Everaet, CIO, Coca-Cola. Image: cionet.com

With more than 20 years’ experience with Coca-Cola, Sabine Everaet is the group CIO for EMEA and western Europe. Based in Brussels, she was named Belgian CIO of the Year in 2011. She also chairs the Coca-Cola European Women Leadership Council and is active in a number of networks to advance women in IT.

Prior to her time in Coca-Cola, Everaet worked as a consultant at PwC and KPMG.

Sheila Doyle

Sheila Doyle, Deloitte UK

Sheila Doyle, CIO, Deloitte UK. Image: Sheila Doyle/LinkedIn

Sheila Doyle was appointed CIO of Deloitte UK in December 2015, moving into the role from the global CIO position at Norton Rose Fulbright law firm. She has held senior IT leadership roles at BP and Royal Mail, and was a senior consultant at Gartner.

Leading a department of 300, Doyle’s focus is on delivering customer-facing solutions and developing technology that can bolster digital innovation.

Michelle McKenna-Doyle

Michelle McKenna Doyle, NFL CIO

Michelle McKenna-Doyle, CIO, NFL. Image: NFL

SVP and CIO of the NFL, Michelle McKenna-Doyle is responsible for the American football league’s tech strategy and shared service delivery, and manages its corporate technology activities.

McKenna-Doyle took up the role in 2012. She previously held CIO positions at Universal Orlando Resort and Constellation Energy, and was VP of information technology for Disney prior to that.

Madalina Suceveanu

Madalina Suceveanu, Vodafone Ireland

Madalina Suceveanu, CTO, Vodafone Ireland. Image: Vodafone Ireland

Madalina Suceveanu oversees Vodafone’s ambitious network roll-out, which includes a next-generation 4G networka major fibre joint venture with ESB and a €500m investment plan over the next three years.

Suceveanu recently achieved a new benchmark of 1Gbps broadband speeds on Vodafone’s mobile network.

She joined Orange Romania in 1997 as an expert in network planning. In 2011, she became the first woman to manage the technology department at France Telecom.

Micheline Casey

Micheline Casey

Micheline Casey. Image: TEDx Menlo Park Women

Micheline Casey is a data consultant and most recently served as the first-ever chief data officer (CDO) for the Federal Reserve Board – the central bank of the United States – and the first CDO for a state government in the US.

An internationally recognised expert in using data for critical, data-driven decisions, Casey has been honoured several times, including being featured in DC’s Top 50 Women in Technology and Top 25 Information Managers from Information Management magazine.

Kathy McElligott

Kathy McElligot

Kathy McElligott, CIO and CTO of McKesson. Image: McKesson

Kathy McElligott is both CIO and CTO of McKesson Corporation, one of the largest healthcare companies in the world with revenues of $189bn a year. As CIO, she is responsible for all technology initiatives and as CTO, she guides the overall technology direction for the company’s products.

Prior to McKesson, McElligott was CIO of Emerson. She previously spent 22 years with General Electric, ultimately becoming CIO of supply chain for GE Aircraft Engines.

Maya Leibman

Maya Leibman

American Airlines CIO Maya Leibman. Image: American Airlines

Berkeley graduate Maya Leibman is one of America’s most pivotal CIOs with responsibility for all IT systems at American Airlines. In her role, she is responsible for all IT systems, including systems development, infrastructure, operations and strategy, and is a champion of the airline’s Living Green group focused on reducing its carbon footprint.

Prior to her role as CIO, Leibman was president of the AAdvantage loyalty programme and led CRM and customer research initiatives for the airline worldwide.

Denise Clark

Denise Clark

Denise Clark, Estée Lauder CIO. Image: SAP/YouTube

As CIO at Estée Lauder, Denise Clark is responsible for the systems of a $9bn global business.

Prior to joining Estée Lauder, Clark was an accomplished CIO and led the IT operations of major consumer brands including Hasbro and Mattel. She also served as chair of the National AIDS fund in the US.

Before entering the business world, Clark was a commissioned officer in the US navy and completed her MBA through Apple Computer’s master’s programme with Stanford University.

Rachel Dunscombe


Rachel Dunscombe, CIO, Salford Royal NHS Foundation. Image: Rachel Dunscombe/LinkedIn

Rachel Dunscombe has been CIO of Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust for one year, pairing it with a similar role at the Salford Royal Group. She recently accepted an award after her hospital was named the most digitally mature organisation in the NHS.

In March, Dunscombe revealed her hospital’s plans to upload patient-generated wearable data to its electronic patient record, considered a pioneering approach to healthcare.

Want stories like this and more direct to your inbox? Sign up for Tech Trends, Silicon Republic’s weekly digest of need-to-know tech news.