Veteran CIO joins The Council’s professional staff

A Big Welcome

I’m pleased to welcome a new Executive Director to the Canadian Chapter of The CIO Executive Council. Noel Cruz, a CIO of many years’ standing in the Canadian IT community, stepped into the role in March. Noel has served in IT leadership roles with companies such as Towers, K-Mart and, most recently, with Bata. Through his activities in the CIO community and in organizations such as The Retail Council of Canada, Noel is well known and well regarded by a broad population of Canadian IT leaders. His experience and first-hand knowledge of members’ issues will be significant assets as he moves The Council’s agenda forward in support of Canadian members.

Christine Britsas continues as the mainstay of member support and program planning. I will remain very active with The Council, but with Noel now in place I will resume some of my efforts with the broader IT community and with other elements of IT World Canada’s business, including executive events.

Just three weeks into his role, CIO Canada took time to catch up with Noel and get his initial thoughts on The Council. His comments follow…

John Pickett,
VP and Editorial Director, IT World Canada

CIO CANADA: Noel, you’ve spent many years as a CIO yourself, but this is a very different role. What attracted you to it?

CRUZ: It is the opportunity to make a difference; this time not for a business concern alone but also for the CIO community at large and the CIO profession itself. The CIO profession has largely been undervalued and underplayed. I believe active and productive members of The Council can propel the CIO profession to be visible and influential across industry, government, media and academia. And given that the challenges successfully tackled by CIOs over the years have had a profound and lasting impact on Canadian businesses and their customers, leveraging the collective wisdom and experience of the membership will be enriching and supportive of each individual member.

CIO CANADA: Your real world experience should give you good insights into the challenges CIOs face today. You obviously believe The Council can help to address some of these?

CRUZ: Most definitely. I can see many situations where The Council would be of great value. Principally the peer-to-peer contacts serve as a very simple and direct way to leverage CIOs’ experiences through unbiased, free and open consultative dialogues with each other. Of equal benefit is the ability to percolate and evaluate IT management issues through conference calls and task forces that result in solutions and ideas useful to Council members in Canada and globally.

CIO CANADA: You recently visited The Council’s headquarters in the U.S. What were your impressions of the global Council?

CRUZ: Every day the global coalition is growing significantly with the combined membership, including the U.S., Canada and Australia pushing to over 400. There are also plans to reach out to Europe. In the U.S. and Australia, The CIO Council has begun to make impressive inroads in the curriculum of universities by having IT management courses developed and included in postgraduate courses. The Council too has gained recognition as the collective voice of CIOs in responding to industry, regulatory and government issues. Value of peer-to-peer consulting has grown, with some members citing financial savings in six figures as a result of better decisions. Interaction among CIOs, including our Canadian chapter, now happens with great regularity. The professional support team of The Council, acting as virtual assistants to members, has focused on facilitating all these discussions and contacts for the members.

CIO CANADA: What do you think your most important activities will be as you take up your role with The Council?

CRUZ: Foremost is growing the membership in Canada and the continuous enhancement of The Council’s value proposition to its members.

CIO CANADA: And what Council initiatives are getting your attention.

CRUZ: Bill 198 is definitely one. It is getting on CIOs’ agendas and is an issue on which The Council can support members with information and guidance to deal with its implications. Its similarity to Sarbanes-Oxley means we can leverage the very comprehensive ‘playbook’ developed by members in the U.S. to navigate those tricky waters. The Council is also working closely with CIO Canada magazine on a new and exciting venture, The CIO 100 Assembly; a major Canadian conference aimed at building IT leadership skills and the professional standing of CIOs.

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