Career Path

Removing silos: When non-IT leaders join IT

The perennial problem facing IT: How do we make our IT organizations more knowledgeable about our business? A close corollary: How do we make the business people we import into the CIO’s organization, more knowledgeable about IT?

Brad Clay, CIO of Lexmark, which delivers printing, imaging, and software solutions, has found an answer to both questions. 

Clay joined Lexmark in 2002 and worked in supply chain, IT, and finance for 14 years before becoming CIO in 2016. He inherited a strong IT team, but he saw room for improvement in IT’s relationship with its business partners, particularly with sales and marketing. So, Clay decided to fill some key IT leadership positions with people currently serving in business functions outside of IT. 

“I needed people who had credibility with their teams and were strong communicators and leaders,” he says. “In IT, we were more focused on bits and bytes than on relationships. This is particularly true with sales and marketing because we really don’t speak the same language.”