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Executive News; LaGrasse Heads IT Change; Showalter Drives Consumerism

LaGrasse Heads IT Change

John LaGrasse drove technology transformation during his six-year stint as CIO at American General Corp. (Houston; $121 billion in assets), and now he has been tapped to drive an IT change plan at The Phoenix Companies (Hartford; $86.4 million in 2004 net income).

The plan includes outsourcing what LaGrasse calls "non-core" infrastructure functions, including the carrier's mainframe and mid-range processing platforms, help desk, call center support and networks. LaGrasse says Phoenix will engage Plano, Texas-based provider EDS "on the front end of our initiatives so that ... we're leveraging their architectural plans," adding that Phoenix is "committed to transforming our infrastructure and day-to-day operational approaches to maximize" the relationship.

LaGrasse emphasizes that these efforts, along with legacy consolidation initiatives and conversion to a new XML-based business platform, are taking place within a context of a transformed relationship of IT to the business side of the house. "We have aligned technology with the business, and we've established governance where each of the key business groups decides and governs not only the expenditures but the scope of the expenditures on technology," he says.

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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