At his first job, Philip A. Garland, 55, built nuclear submarines for General Dynamics. He soon decided it was time for a career transformation, and he entered the public accounting and professional services worlds -- where decades of role changes at KPMG and BearingPoint led him to the helm of PwC's U.S. IT operations.
Today, PwC is undergoing a transformation of its own -- a global undertaking in which IT serves as a strategic enabler for overhauling the consulting firm's business model and improving the user experience for its employees and clients. Garland leads the charge in the U.S. and sits on the council overseeing the global initiative. "We must stay in tune with technology trends so we meet the expectations of our younger staff," whose average age is under 28, he says. To do that, "our technologies must enable an environment that is social, mobile, agile, analytical, global and simple," he adds.
PwC principal David Stuckey has worked with Garland for 18 years. "Many CIOs are technologists -- Phil is a business technologist," Stuckey says. "He understands technology very deeply but can speak to business leaders. He can apply technology to a business problem and transform the business."
Garland joined PwC in 2009 to launch its CIO advisory business. In that capacity, he helped CIOs transform their business and in the process helped redefine the CIO role. He became PwC's CIO in 2012.
Frequent job changes are "typical for me," Garland says. "In the course of my career I don't think I've held a role for more than three or four years. For me that keeps things interesting."