The Grill: Catherine P. Bessant

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Two years ago, Catherine P. Bessant was tapped to lead Bank of America's Global Technology and Operations (GT&O) group, which has more than 100,000 staffers and contractors in 40 countries. Here Bessant talks about leading a tech group that includes five CIOs as direct reports, the importance of employee diversity, and how relying too much on third parties for IT services can backfire.

You came into an IT leadership position from the business side. Was it a hard transition? I was helped by the fact that I've been a part of most of the businesses we serve. I came to the field having had a fair amount of experience using the technology.

What has been one of your most effective projects? After a lot of planning over many years, we're in the final stages of transitioning our California and Northwest regions' core banking systems into the model platform used by the company so that we have a single, core banking platform across the U.S. We retired 11,000 different batch jobs that ran daily and decommissioned 110 obsolete applications.

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