CIO to CEO–It Can Happen

CIOedmontonToday I attended the CIO Association of Canada (@cio_can) – Edmonton Chapter (@ciocan_edm) round tables on “The Evolving CIO: Journey from CIO to CEO”.  Scott Garvey was the host this afternoon in what was a very insightful and informal chat around how he transitioned himself into the CEO chair.  You can check out Scott’s bio at the bottom of this post but suffice to say he’s been quite successful in his career.  Scott is a very open and personable guy from what I could tell and made sure he introduced himself to everyone who attended.  Class act all the way.

What I really enjoyed about this event was the success principals that Scott talked about and how he implemented them into his career.  It was a lot of these principals that led to his success and I made sure to write down quite a few notes into my Windows Phone 8 – OneNote app. (Shameless Plug however the OneNote app is rock solid).

One of the statements that really impacted me was when Scott was talking about his career decisions and that all of them were “conscious decisions”.  He talked about how he would continually push himself into uncomfortable situations and it was these situations that stretched him as a person and helped him grow.  If it didn’t work out, it wasn’t the end of the world and he would have just moved on.  The whole pushing yourself into uncomfortable positions is a lot tougher than most people think.  Successful people in life do not sit stagnant, they continually grow and evolve, much like Scott did.  A successful friend of mine told me once that “the greatest fear of man is change”, now I’m not sure if that’s his quote or someone else’s but I’d say that’s a pretty fair statement.  Change is difficult however change and breaking through that wall of fear is what will help us become successful.

Another statement that Scott made was how he focused in on the job that he was currently in.  He was “all in” as they say and didn’t have his foot halfway out the door or looking for the next best thing.  So many of us are looking for that next position or the next best thing and not giving our full attention to our current jobs.  I’ve been guilty of that in the past however how Scott moved around in his career wasn’t by accident and wasn’t by half-assing it in whatever role he had.  To get a level like CEO requires dedication, consistency, work ethic and that all-in mentality.  I think sometimes we really need to take a step back and ask ourselves are we actually in alignment with what the company wants out of me?  Are we really giving our all or just going through the motions?

The last thing and one of the most important things Scott mentioned was “you cannot achieve great things without having a great team behind you”.  I agree 100% with this statement as you cannot expect to do everything yourself, you need a strong team that backs you up.  He went on to mention that hand picking the right people is key to building a solid team and that you need to ensure you have balance of skill on that team.  I can relate in my past experiences as re-building a team and finding those right people is tough, but when you do find them it’s as if magic happens and things come together in a great way.  There is no way I’d be successful in my current role if I didn’t have the team I have today.

Scott, thank you again for sharing your insight today during lunch.  There are a things you said that I’ll be tweaking and incorporating into my career to help me become a better Director/CIO.

As I close, the CIO Association of Canada has sponsored a paper produced by the Ryerson University on this topic.  You can download the paper CIO to CEO- Barriers and Success Factors which really ties into this topic in greater detail.  A great read!

For those CIO’s/IT Directors/IT Managers looking to further your knowledge on topics like this check out the CIO Peer Forum which takes place April 18-19, 2013 in Edmonton at the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald.  Early Bird pricing ends March 18th!


Scott Garvey Bio:


Scott Garvey joined ATCO in September 2009 as the corporate CIO. He was responsible for working directly with each of the operating company Presidents and their Management Teams to continue to optimize the use of Information Technology across the ATCO Group of companies. Scott’s focus was to provide leadership in the alignment of ATCO’s IT strategy with the business strategy of each of the operating companies. To accomplish this he established a Project Management Office to develop project management standards in order to improve IT project execution success; negotiated and managed the Master Service Agreement (MSA) with ATCO I-Tek on behalf of the corporate office and operating companies; and supervised the MSA and the use of Information Technology within the ATCO Group of companies. In May of 2010, the announcement was made that Scott would take on the role of President, ATCO I-Tek. In this capacity, Scott is responsible for the P&L operations of the ATCO subsidiary which provides Information Technology services and Customer Care & Billing services to a diverse set of clients around the world.

Scott joined ATCO from Accenture, where he was the Executive Director, Energy Canada and the Managing Director, Alberta. In that capacity, he was responsible for managing Accenture’s business in the oil and gas industry across all offerings–management consulting, technology services and outsourcing, with a focus on substantive long-term business relationships.  In his Managing Director role, he was Accenture’s face to the Calgary and broader Alberta communities.
Prior to his tenure at Accenture, Scott held various senior executive positions in the Information Services and Management Consulting industry.  He has been an Officer of Bell Canada in the role of Senior Vice President; Fujitsu Consulting as its President; and has held positions of increasing responsibility over several years at SHL Systemhouse and IBM.

This entry was posted in Strategy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s