Bank of America CIO cites simplification, risk reduction as keys to IT success

CIO Catherine Bessant discusses her team's plan to simplify the IT environment while reducing risk through design, aggressive training, and more

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Catherine Bessant's journey to the CIO role at Bank of America wasn't your standard ascent through the ranks of IT. Bessant, now Global Technology and Operations Executive, leads a team of more than 100,000 employees and contractors who handle all technology and operations for the giant financial institution. But prior to tackling IT, Bessant was president of Global Corporate Banking, Global Treasury Services and the Global Product Solutions groups. She's also served as chief marketing officer for the bank.

In this installment of the IDG Enterprise CIO Interview Series, Bessant spoke with IDG Enterprise's Chief Content Officer John Gallant about the advantages -- and challenges -- of being a nontechnologist leading IT. She also discusses the lessons she's learned from navigating Bank of America's supersized acquisitions. In addition, the oft-honored Bessant talked about her team's bold plan to simplify dramatically the IT environment and its goal to reduce risk through design, aggressive training and more. A lover of Shakespeare, Bessant also explains what lessons the Bard holds for IT leaders everywhere.

"To business that we love we rise betime and go to it with delight."

William Shakespeare, "Anthony and Cleopatra"

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