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New R&SA USA CTO Focuses on Users

Royal & SunAlliance USA's CTO and new corporate infrastructure boss, Chris Heeley, says he's focusing on two major goals.

Royal & SunAlliance USA's (R&SA USA, $899 million in written premium, Charlotte, NC) CTO and new corporate infrastructure boss, Chris Heeley, says he's focusing on two major goals.

In terms of the long-term corporate strategy of R&SA, "We have a long way to go," Heeley says. "We don't just have to communicate within the US and with our trading partners, but also with our own entities around the world." In terms of more immediate and local objectives, Heeley says, "when I come to work every day, the goal is to move R&SA USA from a skills-based to a needs-based organization."

Traditionally, Heeley asserts, IT professionals have identified themselves by the particular technical skills peer group they belong to. "They thought of themselves as working in operational systems, or network, or Unix, or NT group," he says. "The problem is, being a Unix expert doesn't in itself deliver value to our end users." Heeley says of his group, "instead of thinking about 'What am I learning about Unix?' they'll think 'What problems are users encountering that I have the skills to help them with?'"

Another near-term objective of Heeley's is to establish a more comprehensive project office capability that will translate data into information and metrics.

Heeley's last post was at Blackbird Holdings, where he built a B2B exchange for derivative trades. But he "cut his teeth" at USAA (San Antonio, $62.5 billion in assets). Over a 13-year stint in which he held posts on both the insurance and banking sides, Heeley adds, "USAA really set the stage for my career."

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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