Barbara D. Carlini: Agent of Change

Age: 45

Title: CIO, Diageo North America, a subsidiary of Diageo PLC, the world's largest producer of alcoholic beverages. Its brands include Smirnoff, Guinness, Johnnie Walker, Baileys, J&B, Cuervo, Captain Morgan and Tanqueray.

First IT job: A clerk in computer room at Berlex Laboratories Inc. n New Jersey.

Best moments: Developing people and building teams; working with colleagues to drive business change through technical solutions.

Most challenging moments: Keeping up with and ahead of change, both internally and externally. "With the consolidation that's going on in our industry, with the different mergers and acquisitions, there's been a lot of change within the organization, both inside IS and within the business," Carlini says. "Since we're in a regulated industry, we have to make sure that we're following certain rules, especially around social responsibility. That's something that's very top of mind for every employee. We also have a very strict, self-imposed marketing code. We have to make sure, for instance, that we are not allowing people who are under legal drinking age to access our Web site."

Most fulfilling work accomplishments: Some of the changes in the past four years include an SAP implementation and the acquisition and integration of Seagram and Chalone Wine Group Ltd., outsourcing of all the infrastructure and SAP support. "And, after that, we've got extremely high morale," she says. "There's low attrition in the organization. I have this dedicated, energized team, and they really, truly deliver these extraordinary results."

Single worst management moment: Getting in front of the organization to talk about downsizing. "That was probably the toughest, even though it was the absolute right thing to do," Carlini says. The North American organization made the decision to find money to reinvest in advertising and promotion. "I went back to look at what I could do to reduce the organization and then give back to our business," she says. "With the consolidation into headquarters, I was able to significantly reduce costs and give that back to our marketing department. There was no other way, when we looked at it, to reduce costs quickly. It's very tough when you're dealing with people's livelihoods and their families."

Leadership style, in three words: People-focused. Authentic. Results-oriented.

Most admired IT leader: Doreen Wright, CIO at Campbell Soup Co. "She's really a courageous leader. She can move mountains for her organization. But what I most admire about her is her ability to do that and also have a work/life balance. Her family comes first."

Best advice for up-and-coming IT leaders: Be true to yourself. Be authentic. "If you're not, your people are going to see right through you," Carlini notes. "Understand the business -- how it works and what drives it. Spend a lot of time building relationships both internally with your IT and business colleagues as well as externally in the industry. And networking is extremely important. "You need to not just be ready for change; you need to embrace it because there's so much change in this industry," she says.

Other interests: Cooking, photography, reading mysteries, spending time in Manhattan at the theater, and shopping.

Dream job: Chef

Latest read: Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap ... and Others Don't, by Jim Collins

Special Report

2006 Premier 100 IT Leaders

Stories in this report:

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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