Myer adds IT leadership role - and other recent appointments
  • Department store group lures top CIO from Australia Post
  • Expertise in retail management spans Woolworths, Aldi and Countdown
  • Tasked with creating true omni-channel capabilities
Image: Alamy
Share on LinkedIn
Share on Xing

Myer adds IT leadership role - and other recent appointments

I-CIO editorial team – July 2014
Tech changes at the top of Myer, Commonwealth Bank, Specsavers, Nykredit, PostFinance, DNA and multiple US government agencies.

Australia’s largest department store group Myer has appointed Richard Umbers to the newly created role of chief information and supply chain officer. Reporting directly to CEO Bernie Brookes, Umbers will be tasked with driving the retailer’s omni-channel capabilities. The new IT chief’s remit will include its payment systems and the MYER one loyalty program, with key responsibilities spanning the management of online services, IT and supply chain.

Umbers leaves his position as executive general manager of parcel and express services for Australia Post and its wholly owned express freight provider StarTrack, where his remit encompassed responsibility for e-commerce. His retail experience includes four-year stints in general management at Woolworths and as COO then managing director at Countdown supermarkets. In the UK, Umbers spent nine years moving up the ranks at the Aldi supermarket group, leaving in 2002 as managing director for the north west of the UK and Ireland.

Myer generated total sales of more than AUS$3.1 billion ($2.9bn) in 2013 and has 66 stores across Australia and 12,500 staff. Umbers is one of three new appointments to the executive leadership team, as CEO Brookes seeks not only to strengthen its position in a challenging retail market, but also to line up a successor for his leadership role.
Other key appointments

Commonwealth Bank of Australia has promoted David Whiteing to group executive, enterprises services and CIO. He joined as head of its enterprise architecture and planning team in September 2013. Whiteing’s predecessor Michael Harte has moved to UK bank Barclays as COO and CTO (see June Appointments).
• The Bureau of Meteorology has appointed Dr Lesley Seebeck as its new deputy director information systems and services/CIO. She joins from the Australian government’s finance department, where she has been since 2009, briefly as acting CIO for the government.

Memorial University of Newfoundland has appointed Shelley Smith as its first CIO. She’ll be responsible across all its campuses, and was most recently executive director of corporate and information management services with the provincial government.

• Financial services group Nykredit has hired Carsten Smith as IT director. Previously CTO at Danish Bank, Smith will be tasked with leading the IT organization’s ongoing transformational strategy.

• Janne Aalto is joining DNA as CIO, in line with the creation of telecoms company’s new technology unit, directly reporting to president and CEO Jukka Leinonen. Aalto previously led advertising and publishing at online video company Kiosked. He replaces Taneli Ropponen, who will continue as COO at DNA.

• Digital media company the Haufe Group has a new IT leader. Bernd Sengpiehl joins from AEG Power Solutions in Amsterdam, where he was also CIO. The company has around 1,300 staff worldwide, with a projected turnover for 2013/14 of €266 million ($362m).

• Markus Fuhrer has been promoted to CIO at PostFinance, after 10 years in the deputy CIO’s role at the bank. Fuhrer succeeds Enrico Lardelli, who will lead IT at Graubündner Kantonalbank from next year.

• Opticians group Specsavers has hired Phil Pavitt as its new global CIO. Pavitt was previously global IT operations and transformation director at insurance company Aviva, and has earlier worked as CIO at HMRC, Transport for London, Centrica, NTL and Onetel. Specsavers has around 2,000 locally run businesses in the UK and Ireland, as well as outlets across Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Spain, Finland, Australia and New Zealand.
• Former Standard & Poor’s CTO Jora Gill has been named as the first CDO of The Economist, with a remit focused on strategy. For the past three years Gill was CTO at medical and scientific information giant Elsevier.

• The US General Services Administration (GSA) has named Sonny Hashmi as CIO, responsible for its $600 million IT budget. He’s been acting CIO since February 2014, following the departure of Casey Coleman, who left to take a position with AT&T Government Solutions. Hashmi was previously deputy CIO and CTO at the GSA.
• Major General William Bender is set to become the next US Air Force CIO. He currently serves in Baghdad as deputy chief of the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq, and will replaces Lieutenant General Michael Basla.
• Former CIO of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Steve Cooper has joined the US Commerce Department as CIO. Cooper was the DHS’s first CIO and has also served in CIO roles at the Federal Aviation Administration, American Red Cross and Corning.
• The US Agriculture Department has named Richard Coffee as the new associate CIO for data center operations and director of its national information technology center. He has served as its associate CIO for Cyber Policy and Oversight since February 2011.
Texas Instruments has selected Ellen Barker as CIO to replace Brian Bonner, who retires after 33 years with the company. Barker will also serve as manager of its global IT services organization. She has been with the semiconductor giant since 1984, most recently as VP controller of its Silicon Valley analog business.
• GE has named James Fowler VP and CIO for its GE Capital unit. He joined General Electric in 2000 and has since worked in GE Aviation, GE Corporate and GE Power & Water, where he’s been serving as CIO.
• Retail cooperative Ace Hardware has named Karen Fedyszyn as its new VP of IT and CIO, with responsibility for IT operations across almost 5,000 stores and its customer care call center. Fedyszyn has spent the past eight years at HSBC, as SVP global head of data centers in the US and London, then SVP, global head of change delivery commercial banking in China and, most recently, as SVP IT in Chicago.
Franklin Electric, a global provider of water and fuel pumping systems, has named Julie Scheck Freigang as its new CIO. She joins from energy company Eaton, where she was VP of IT.
• Health club franchise Planet Fitness has appointed Corey Benish as CIO, responsible for overseeing technology strategy to support aggressive expansion. The company has more than 800 clubs nationwide, with approximately 6 million members. Benish was most recently CTO at National Dentex Corp and, before that, he was CIO at AGA Medical Corp.
• Suma Nallapati has been promoted to be Colorado’s secretary of technology and CIO. She has been CTO for Governor John Hickenlooper’s Office of IT since February 2014.
• The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has hired Mark Henderson as CIO. Henderson is currently interim VP and CIO for IT services at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He has previously worked at GE, Procter & Gamble, Westinghouse, and the Universities of Maryland and Cincinnati.
First published July 2014
Share on LinkedIn
Share on Xing

    Your choice regarding cookies on this site

    Our website uses cookies for analytical purposes and to give you the best possible experience.

    Click on Accept to agree or Preferences to view and choose your cookie settings.

    This site uses cookies to store information on your computer.

    Some cookies are necessary in order to deliver the best user experience while others provide analytics or allow retargeting in order to display advertisements that are relevant to you.

    For a full list of our cookies and how we use them, please visit our Cookie Policy

    Essential Cookies

    These cookies enable the website to function to the best of its ability and provide the best user experience for you. They can still be disabled via your browser settings.

    Analytical Cookies

    We use analytical cookies such as those used by Google Analytics to give us information about the way our users interact with - this helps us to make improvements to the site to enhance your experience.

    For a full list of analytical cookies and how we use them, visit our Cookie Policy

    Social Media Cookies

    We use cookies that track visits from social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn - these cookies allow us to re-target users with relevant advertisements from

    For a full list of social media cookies and how we use them, visit our Cookie Policy