Where is the best place to work for a CIO? If recent appointments are anything to go by, heading up the IT systems at US retailer Wal-Mart appears to be a safe bet as a stopping off point on the road to landing a plum executive job and a great big ‘golden hello'.
In August 2005, software titan Microsoft announced that it was to employ Kevin Turner, the CEO of Wal-Mart's warehousing division (Sam's Club), as its new COO. The appointment was something of a surprise, as Microsoft had left the COO position vacant since Rick Belluzzo's departure three years ago.
Turner is a high profile CEO – and indeed former CIO. Microsoft's SEC filings reveal that it was so keen to get Turner on board that it paid him a $7 million joining bonus – a signing on fee surpassing that of many Premiership footballers.
Turner is not the only ex-Wal-Mart CIO to be getting a warm welcome recently. In July 2005, systems giant Hewlett-Packard gave Dell CIO Randy Mott a $2.2 million signing fee. Mott was at one stage Turner's boss at Wal-Mart, although any quibbles over the discrepancy in signing bonuses is likely to be assuaged by his larger annual salary.
Of course, working for one of the world's largest businesses enhances any CV, but not all former Wal-Mart CIOs go to technology companies. Bob Martin – CIO from 1983 to 1992 – joined the board of US department store Dillards. Meanwhile, current CIO Linda Dillman has the process running in reverse: she previously spent five years working at HP.
Other prominent Wal-Mart former IT executives include Rick Dalzell. While he never quite made the post of CIO at the retailer, Dalzell did rise as high as executive VP of information systems. He now holds the position of CIO at online retailer Amazon.