Charlie Feld

AGE: 60

CLAIM TO FAME: As CIO at Dallas-based Frito-Lay Inc. in the late 1980s, he boosted the company's fortunes with an award-wining logistics information system. In the '90s, as CIO at Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Co. in Fort Worth, Texas, he directed the design and deployment of the world's largest, real-time integrated rail system. Germany's national railroad later paid $8 million to license the software.

WHATE HE'S DOING NOW: Founder, CEO and president of The Feld Group in Irving, Texas, a consulting firm that helps manage a company's IT providers and, in some cases, provides companies with temporary CIOs or CIO-level guidance.

Q: How will IT leadership, especially the role of the CIO, change in the next 10 years?
A:
I think it's going to go the way of most other professions. The evolution of IT leadership started out in the back office and is now ending up in the boardroom. The past 35 years has become the infancy [of the CIO's role]; in the next 10 years, the IT leadership role will be professionalized, like the CFO's role has become.

Charlie Feld of The Feld Group
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Charlie Feld of The Feld Group
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Q: What will the IT organization look like in 10 years?
A:
It'll clearly have a seat at the table in the executive committee, not just on an organizational chart, but in real terms. It will not be any of the fads of the past, such as all mainframes or all Web. The technology won't be all homegrown, as it was early on; it won't be all packaged solutions, as some people have predicted. It won't be all outsourced or all insourced -- it'll be a combination of all that.
It's the way you pick [the technologies] and the way you play them together that will count, with the CIO as maestro or master chef.

Q: You're a CEO now. If a CIO wants to become a CEO, what's the one piece of advice you would give him?
A:
Continue to learn about businesses and how businesses bring value in the marketplace, and not just thinking about the department but the enterprise, and not just thinking about the enterprise but the extended enterprise.

Copyright © 2002 IDG Communications, Inc.

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