Profile: CIO Shares Credit for AmeriCredit’s Success

Q: What else is occupying the bulk of your attention these days?

When I came to the company there was already a loan accounting system in place. That’s an area we’re starting to look at as potential for replacement. We’re spending lot of time on activities that deal with our relationship with Chase [bank] – we have various projects we do that enhance the work we do together with Chase. And we’re in the process of expanding our data center. In terms of where I spend most of my time, it is working with the businesses and understanding where their needs are … ensuring we have proper skill sets and project mgmt capabilities to meet their requirements.

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Q: Who do you report to and what goals have been set by you or upper management for this year?

I report to the COO. We’re just in the process of starting that activity [deciding on goals] for the coming fiscal year. So much of that is the general type of supporting business growth. We’re constantly opening branches … We do a rolling three-year fiscal plan but we have a strategic plan with a review that will be done in the next few weeks.

Q: Which of your skills has served you best in managing IT?

Developing relationships with our business partners. In terms of the success of AmeriCredit that’s been very key.

Q: What advice would you give someone looking to advance their career the same way you have?

You need to be multifaceted in what you’ve managed. You can’t just know the technology area or focus on architecture. So as young managers come up they have a tendency to say “I just like applications” and not comfortable with architecture technology. You need to get out of your comfort zone if you’re going to manage various areas … You need to have managed the various disciplines within the IT organization. It’s helpful to have worked for more than one organization. My advice would be, don’t get locked into one technology specialty and be open to opportunities even if it means changing corporations.

Q: What keeps you awake at night?

If anything keeps me up at night it’s trying to anticipate what our competition might do that would require us to respond with some technological innovation. An example of a technological innovation AmeriCredit did before I came here was same-day funding [of a loan]. So the dealer can sell the car and have the money in their account. That’s a significant competitive advantage AmeriCredit has so in the context of that if one of our competitors were to come out with something like that that we hadn’t thought of, that would keep me up at night.

Q. What do you do in your spare time?

Play golf, fish, read. Spend time with my wife.

Esther Shein is a freelance writer and editor in Framingham, Mass. She can be reached at [email protected].

Editor’s note: Are you a CIO or other enterprise IT executive who is willing to be profiled? Or would you like to suggest someone to be profiled? Send your suggestion via e-mail to Esther Shein at [email protected]..