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Executive Closeup: McCarthy Focuses on Execution

Aetna's new CIO's priorities are improving business/technology alignment, driving excellence in delivery and managing talent in the carrier's technology organization.

Where others might see "old," Meg McCarthy sees "classic." In her spare time the new Aetna (Hartford) CIO likes to refurbish and restore homes and automobiles, most recently a 1954 Mercedes-Benz. McCarthy believes her hobby has relevance to her work. "It's not unlike some of the architecture work that we do, in terms of figuring a path out of some of the entangled legacy environments in which we live," she explains.

Aetna's technology organization is hardly a "fixer-upper" -- its delivery group achieved CMM level 2 this June after only 18 months. Nevertheless, McCarthy has planned an agenda that will test her creative and restorative vision. She says that maintaining high levels of performance will be a focus within the delivery organization -- which she plans to take to CMM level 3 next year -- as well as with the infrastructure organization, which she says "regularly performs at Six Sigma levels."

Another priority for McCarthy will be improving the overall business/IT relationship, which she says will involve examining "how we manage our portfolio of investments, how we work to improve communication between business and IT, and what is our shared accountability."

McCarthy's third major area of focus will be talent management. Having made that a priority last year, she says, "We will continue to do that so that we can build a much stronger, very high-performing organization."

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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