CIO Network News

Issue #1
October 2001

It's not easy for the world to focus on our passions in light of the recent events in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001. We here at M. Wood Company join you and the rest of the nation in mourning the loss of so many innocent lives. Our heartfelt condolences go out to those who have lost family and friends in this terrible event. We are saddened, however are resolved that no act of terrorism will halt our contribution to our industry or our mission toprovide value to our clients. God Bless.

Network News serves as a vehicle to provide our members with value added information and resources relating to CIO's. With our industry experience as well as content from various publications NN will serve you with information on technology trends, a CIO's role in business, best practices, and methods on how to leverage your overall success. Through NN you will also be informed on M.Wood Company's scope of services, our current searches and potential networking and referral opportunities.


Message From the Partners: We Have the Resources, Reach Out to Us

Feature: From IT to General Management - Up Close With Patrick Kennedy

Current Searches: Potential Opportunities

Tips to Lead & Succeed: Corporate Governance & Culture - What to Consider When Executing Your Initiatives

Hot Topics: Survey Results from

Recently Completed Searches: In and Outside the Scope of IT

Company News: M. Wood Consultants Participate in AIMS Annual Conference

Sites to Surf: Point and Click to Some of IT's Most Valuable Resources


As you know, one of M. Wood Company's specialty practices within IT is the CIO position. Our experience and knowledge within this facet of IT can be noted through our successful placement of over 40 CIO's.

When we began MWC's CIO Network our goal was to provide networking opportunities and to inform members on industry issues. We have, over the last four years, worked on accomplishing this through personal communication to individual members, quarterly newsletters and roundtable discussions. A few members have even come to us for advice and council to significantly enhance their performance in their current jobs. We've assisted these individuals in areas concerning VPA pricing, packaging of ideas & strategic initiatives, assessment of talent, finding alternate approaches for strategy, and motivation of staff. Although we've done this, we need further participation from you. Our communication has lapsed and we need to restore it to ensure the worth of the Network.

M. Wood Company values our relationship with our members and therefore encourages you to use our broad range of services to help leverage your capabilities as a CIO. We firmly believe M. Wood Company can be a catalyst to your success, however you must be proactive in pursuing the necessary resources within our company. Whether you are interested in free consultative advice, a career change, or would like to introduce someone to our Network, a simple phone call or email can make a difference.

Over 50% of corporate CIO's today have not succeeded in their roles because they fail to evolve along with the position. They don't truly have a seat at the table in helping define corporate structure and strategy hence they fail to see the big picture and don't know how to attack the big picture for that matter. They fail to understand that a CIO is now, more than ever, a part of the executive management team, aiding those individuals in strategizing to guide an organization to success. A CIO must visualize the future and implement plans to execute initiatives. If these individuals were to seek out resources such as ours, we guarantee they would prosper within their environments.

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FEATURE - From IT to General Management - Up Close With Patrick Kennedy

Over the past 10 years the role of the CIO has evolved into that of a true renaissance figure in regards to the positive affect they have on the business strategy of their organizations. No longer are CIO's part of the back office nor is information technology considered an expense.

In today's business world, CIO's are part of executive management teams, involved in organizational strategy. Executive management now recognizes that information technology touches every aspect of the business and therefore is an enabler of strategic direction. Furthermore, as more and more CIO's come to the executive table, through this cross- organizational exposure, many have transitioned into general management roles.

As the transition trend from information technology to general management continues to rise, M. Wood Company decided to take a closer look into what skills or knowledge are needed for a CIO to be successful in a general management role. To assist us in our crusade for answers we spoke to Patrick W. Kennedy, an MWC Network member, who has experienced this success first hand. Patrick has been a candidate and is now one of M. Wood Company's most loyal clients.

Patrick's career in IT spans almost two decades with previous roles as Software Engineer, to Manager of Information Systems and eventually to CIO. Patrick currently works for UnitedHealth Group as Vice President of UnitedHealth Network Technologies. He is responsible for defining and managing UnitedHealth Network's IT strategy. UnitedHealth Network manages $80B+ in healthcare spend, which is directly influenced by Patrick's IT strategy.

Prior to UnitedHealth Group, Patrick served as CIO for Avidyn Inc. and Division President of ppoONE, Inc., Avidyn's eHealth product. ppoONE offers claims re-pricing and data management for PPOs, third-party administrators, health care plans, and insurance carriers. As Division President, Patrick was responsible for developing all business strategies for ppoONE's product, acquisition, merger and partnership activities. Under his leadership, ppoONE gained the largest market share in the enterprise PPO eHealth space.

We asked Patrick to discuss with us, his experiences while moving up the IT ladder and eventually transitioning into general management. Below is what he had to say.

NN: What do you consider to be the biggest difference between a general management position and an IT position?

PWK: When a person is in a management role, he/she understands that the business strategy is the driving force behind everything. That is the biggest difference, the ability to understand the vision and business strategy.

NN: What skills have you learned, throughout your career, are invaluable for a CIO to know if he/she decides to make the plunge into general management?

PWK: Some of the most important tools a CIO should acquire are business strategy acumen, process thinking and communication skills. Unfortunately, many IT professionals lack these skills. CIOs must understand that business strategy drives operational strategy, which ultimately defines the system needs and not vice versa. Many IT people don't make that connection. A great system is worthless if it doesn't support a business function that, in turn, supports a business strategy.

NN: At what point in your career did you become aware of the importance of business strategy and understanding operations?

PWK: It wasn't until 1996, when I was working for Avidyn, Inc., as CIO that I realized the importance after getting involved with the management team. Our President and COO taught me business process management, operational strategy and ultimately business strategy.

NN: Pat, what advice would you give to Network members, with an intense IT background, if they were interested in transitioning into a general management?

PWK: Get out of the IT box and live and breathe like a COO, CMO and CFO. In other words, learn and understand operations, marketing and finance. You become a general manager only when you understand the connections between those areas and how they come together as a whole. The ability to see the big picture is the key. Most IT professionals are focused on the project at hand and lose sight of the business and operational strategy.

M. Wood Company's strategic relationship with Patrick began in 1994 when our CEO, Milton Wood, introduced him to an opportunity, which ultimately led to his placement at UnitedHealth Chambers as CIO & Director, Information Technology.

Since 1994 M. Wood Company has partnered with Patrick on a variety of searches for his organizations. With our consultative approach to his various organizational needs, Patrick was able to build successful teams with diverse positions including: Chief Information Officer, Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Chief Operating Officer, Director of Applications Development and Project Manager.

If you have any questions or comments on Patrick's transition into general management, he can be contacted via email at

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What's New in September 2001
Please contact John Poracky at or Milton Wood at if you know of anyone (including yourself) that could be appropriate for these roles. Additional information and a complete listing of our current searches can be found on our website

Our client, a $2.8 billion subsidiary of a global provider of private infrastructure services is seeking a seasoned leader to develop a global information technology vision and strategy. This executive's responsibilities will encompass business unit alignment, IT services and IT leadership.

Corporate CIO
An extraordinary opportunity for talented leader to become significant contributor to the record profits and growth for our client, a $6 billion corporation.

VP, Product Hardware Management
A global leader in the development, manufacturing and marketing of assistive technology products for the blind is seeking a first-rate marketing professional to join the visionary leadership team of this growing company.

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With the uncertainties of the current global economic climate, the pressures to lead and succeed are even greater for today's corporate executives. World-class people working together to fulfill one mission is the only sustainable business model. In order for an executive to succeed in executing corporate initiatives, the following thoughts on corporate governance and culture should be considered. As M. Wood Company has witnessed first hand, these helpful hints may be the key to building a successful career in your role within any organizational structure as a CIO.

  1. Continuously clarify and articulate the corporate mission throughout your organization.
  2. Chair the executive team in visualizing a corporate strategy where the focus is going to be on the future of the organization not where the organization is today.
  3. Demand cross-functional processes.
  4. Create a culture that endorses cross-functional collaboration within an organization. Remember turfism is equal to integrity violation hence you must terminate the "corporate cowboys."
  5. Encourage creative, out-of-the box thinking. Sponsor calculated risk taking and decisive or non-stop decision-making - a punitive culture is dysfunctional.
  6. Kill bureaucracy; it's like a weed, it's always growing.
  7. The CEO and senior management should lead by example because they are, ultimately, a corporation's top recruiters. These individuals' approaches to leadership directly and indirectly affect the way organizational processes function which in turn shapes a culture. The final outcome of this snowball effect is the positive or negative perception people have, both internally and externally, about a company.
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Consistent with our mission to provide services through a visionary consultative approach, M. Wood Company successfully filled a variety of positions during the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2001. The following is a cross sampling of completed searches.

***Position & Client Description***
Chief Information Officer - financial services company
Chief Information Officer - health care information company
Chief Executive Officer - electronic payment internet company
Chief Operating Officer -ASP health care internet company
Chief Operating Officer - regional health care provider
Chief Operating Officer - west coast health care provider
Division CEO - national health care company
Vice President Tax - national healthcare company
Corporate Treasurer - national health care company
Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing - health care internet company
Application Development Manager - financial services corporation
Vice President, Engineering Operations - engineering design & manufacturing firm
Senior Consultant - investment management firm

If you are interested in knowing more about the wide range of positions and companies we've completed searches for, click on the link

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***Survey Results:***
CIO Magazine's recent survey of IT and business executives found that IT is more closely aligned with business initiatives in today's tougher economic times than ever before. Executives in the survey indicated that 10 years ago, when the U.S. last faced a sluggish economy, companies had a greater tendency to reduce the IT budget as a cost savings measure. Today, IT is viewed as a strategic advantage.

To read the complete article on

***Is the CIO role becoming obsolete?***
According to a survey, poll respondents split over whether position is becoming obsolete

Posted April 17, 2001
Yes - 51.25%% (942 votes)
No - 48.75% (896 votes)
Total = 1838 votes

To read the complete article on

***CIO Salaries, Reporting Relationships, Contribution to the company - Where do you stand? ***
Information Week Magazine has the statistics. Interested in the stats, click on the link below

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M. Wood Partners & Consultants Attend AIMS Conference
In concert with our objective of building and maintaining strategic relationships to better serve our clients, M. Wood Company is now a member of the Association of International Management Search. AIMS is a network of highly regarded personnel consultancies and search firms throughout the world and is represented by 55 offices in 33 countries in all five continents. This membership allows us to have a global reach in serving our clients and individuals such as you.

Part of AIMS membership involves participating in Practice Groups according to each partner's specialty function within recruiting. AIMS members voted M. Wood Company's consultative search approach to IT recruiting as the most comprehensive and therefore elected John Poracky as chairperson of the Information Technology Practice Group.

AIMS held its annual partners conference between June 19 - 24 in Toronto, Canada. This year, the conference focused on best practices in recruitment to excel in the 21st century. The objective of the conference was to appropriately find a collaborative approach to pursue potential international clients. The conference activities included lectures on Best Practices in Recruitment & Sales, Developing Skills to Excellence in the 21st Century and Strategies for the Future.

One of Poracky's initiatives for the IT Practice Group was to educate members on our approach to executive search so he utilized his time during the conference to present a session on IT recruiting using M. Wood Company's 4 step consultative process. Katherine Smetana, our Director of Research & Recruiting accompanied Poracky in introducing members to our process.

John Trakselis, a Principal of M. Wood Company also attended the conference as a member of AIMS Finance Practice Group. Trakselis's participation in the Group has leveraged his expertise in the financial services industry.

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TechWeb at
CEO Express at
Technology Review at
Fortune at

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Silvia Ceballos
Editor, Network News


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