General Motors has just announced that it has appointed Randy Mott to its position of Chief Information Officer (CIO). Mott, 55, will lead the automaker’s global information technology efforts, and will report directly to CEO Dan Akerson as part of the Executive Operations Committee. The appointment is effective immediately.
Before his appointment at GM, Mott was Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Hewlett Packard. There, he was responsible for the company’s global information technology strategy and all of its IT assets. Before HP, Mott has also held CIO roles at Dell and Wal-Mart.
Mott succeeds Terry Kline, who has been GM CIO since 2009 and is leaving GM to pursue other opportunities. Kline took over for long-time CIO Ralph Szygenda upon his retirement.
One of the bigger questions that Mott’s appointment raises is whether The General will continue to outsource its IT efforts, or staff its own IT centers. Traditionally, the automaker has relied on outsourcing its IT operations mores than any other company in the world. In fact, the outsourcing practice harkens back to GM’s ownership of EDS, which The General spun off into an independent IT outsourcing company, then becoming its largest client. Then in 2006, GM spread out its outsourcing work among multiple vendors, with its IT work being valued at a whoping $3 billion a year.
That strategy is in stark contrast to Mott’s work at Walmart, Dell and HP — all of which have relied heavily on staffers and not outsourcers and contractors. Mott also made headlines by transforming HP’s IT organization, consolidating its 85 worldwide data centers into six new, U.S.-based locations, while slashing overall IT payroll, largely by eliminating contractor positions. He also automated more of HP’s IT operation, in an effort to focus the staff on new development projects.
But Mott’s efforts at HP weren’t without criticism: in addition to cost cutting, he also forced business units to justify and prioritize all IT investments with a formal process that documented the costs and benefits. He left HP last year in the midst of the then-CEO Leo Apotheker’s executive reorganization.
Holding a Bachelors in Science in Mathematics from the University of Arkansas, Mott was was named Chief of the Year by InformationWeek for earning a “best-of-class” reputation for systems and support in 1997, while serving as CIO at Wal-Mart. He was named in the Fulbright College Alumni Academy as a distinguished alumnus in 2005, and received the Roger Milliken Career Achievement Award from the Voluntary Inter-industry Commerce Solutions Association two years later.
The GM Authority Take
What we, along with most others, are curious about is whether Mott will change GM’s long-standing (and in our opinion ludicrous) practice of outsourcing the farm, the house, and the cow as it relates to IT, or if he will bring the efforts in-house.
Changing GM’s long-standing IT culture is a tall order. But in a statement announcing the move, CEO Akerson emphasized Mott’s experience in creating change and improving IT operations. As such, it would seem that the well-known CIO’s job will be more about transformation than continuing GM’s old ways:
“With more than three decades of information technology experience, Randy has demonstrated his ability to transform global IT operations,” said GM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson. “His visionary leadership and focus on execution will strengthen GM’s decision-making, reduce risk and improve our global infrastructure, data management and application development.”