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Cultivating Talent and Change Management in Focus for Capital Group's CIO

Julie St. John

Julie St. John

CIO, President of Information Technology Group

The Capital Group Companies 333 S. Hope St., 53th Floor Los Angeles, CA 90071

More than $1 trillion in assets under management.
EVP and CIO, Fannie Mae; VP for information systems, Marriott International; principal, Arthur Young & Co.
B.A. in English and political science, University of Michigan; M.B.A. in finance, Florida State University.
The first was my boss at Arthur Young, Jim Zucco. He really stretched me. He referred to a famous quote from Nietzsche: What doesn't kill you will make you stronger. It was good advice as he gave me more responsibility and opportunity. Bill Kelvis, a partner at Nolan Norton, a technology strategy company in Boston, came to Fannie Mae as CIO and brought me in from Marriott. He was one of the most strategic thinkers I have ever met. He understood how to manage technology and exploit technology for competitive advantage.
My last experience at Fannie Mae, which was going through a challenging regulatory situation at the time. It required the executives to come together as a team to steer the company through a very tough time, and I learned more doing that than anything else.
MOBILE, SOCIALIZATION, Web 2.0, access to information and wireless are huge. Because of that, there will be a big focus on re-engineering and simplifying the user experience. The challenge for people in a corporate technology environment is that users have way cooler stuff at home -- we need to replicate that experience and deliver it in a business arena. Because Capital is global, unified communications and collaboration is interesting. So is going green in IT, since we have a large data center footprint, and power and cooling is a huge percentage of our costs. We'll also continue to look at how to promote globalization through technology.

Julie St. John

CIO, President of Information Technology Group

The Capital Group Companies 333 S. Hope St., 53th Floor Los Angeles, CA 90071


IT Budget:


Key Technology Management:


Size of Technology Team:

2,500 worldwide.

Percent of IT Projects Outsourced:

10 percent.

Key Technology Partners:


Success Metrics:

We have a strong push to position the technology group to really support Capital in the future. Our key metrics are around customer service and business value. We have explicit milestones in those areas, so we track against those.

Technology Assessment

Capital Group had never had a CIO until last year, when I came on board. The firm saw a need for a global CIO to oversee the entire technical function. We've spent the past year focused on assessing the state of our current technology environment. We brought in outsiders to look at every part of our technology function -- what the current state was relative to where we want to be. As a result, we worked with our business partners to choose a new service delivery model.

Change Management Program

As part of the assessment and overhaul, we initiated a change management program. We're a large global organization trying to change, so we brought in professionals to help us manage that and help the management team grapple with how to lead people through a time of transformational change.

Optimization After Growth

Capital just experienced a hockey stick for growth in the last decade, and the technology group has been racing to keep up with that growth. Now we're trying to optimize what we've built. We threw a lot of hardware at solving the problem, and now we're optimizing at an infrastructure level using concepts such as virtualization and consolidation.

Process Optimization

We're a large global company, and we really need to scale our processes to suit the global footprint of the company. We're using things such as service management and ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) to define processes around IT fundamentals, such as how to create a reliable, scalable and secure technology environment.

Creating and Developing the Next Generation of Leaders

This involves targeted and very purposeful recruiting focused on succession planning and identification of high-performing individuals, and giving them the technical breadth and ability to learn how to lead. It's about turning great managers into leaders. We've been working to identify what the key competencies of a great technical leader are and focusing on those.

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