Dennis S. Callahan, who has just been promoted from CIO to executive vice president at The Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America, had better hope that his new office comes with a bigger hat rack.
Not only will Callahan (who joined the New York-based carrier in 2000) oversee building services and facilities for 60 Guardian locations in the US, he will also continue to be responsible for all information technology, e-business and business process outsourcing (BPO).
"I'll still be doing everything I used to, but we have built such a great team here that I don't have to handle every tactical decision that is made," Callahan says. "When I first came here in October 2000, I really put the pedal to the metal on a lot of different projects. Those projects are starting now to come to fruition. So I'll be highly involved, but I won't have to be pressing a hundred different accelerators personally on all of the new things we are planning to do."
Guardian combined all BPO activities under Callahan earlier this year and saw the benefit of having such activities handled from one office, so the company decided to also combine all building and facilities under Callahan to achieve some of the same benefits, the executive says. For instance, Callahan immediately began having the facilities organization work with IT to improve the video and teleconferencing systems.
"Now the management of two million square feet, including security, disaster recovery and contingency planning, is converged," he says. "We are moving in the direction of shared services and support and we have more leverage" when one office handles the entire planning and negotiations with vendors, he adds.
Callahan sees the large amount of responsibility not as a burden, but as an opportunity for The Guardian. Two years from now, Callahan anticipates that The Guardian will be in a great competitive position because of the changes that have happened under his watch. "Two years from now, we will have advanced 10 years from where we were two years ago," he speculates. "A lot of the threads that we have been working on will come together and we will leapfrog most of our competition."
Greg MacSweeney is editorial director of InformationWeek Financial Services, whose brands include Wall Street & Technology, Bank Systems & Technology, Advanced Trading, and Insurance & Technology. View Full Bio