Personality Peek: Szygenda Loves The Car Business - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
News

Personality Peek: Szygenda Loves The Car Business

When General Motors CIO Ralph Szygenda looks up from the pile of papers on his desk, to the left is an expansive view of Detroit, automotive capital of the world. Straight ahead is the door. To the right, in a prominent position in the center wall of his office, are four decorative frames displaying postage stamps from China.

He doesn't collect stamps, but the artwork is a subtle reminder that China is GM's third-largest market, behind Japan and America. "China is the highest area of growth in the auto industry," Szygenda says. "If I have only pictures of America, I'll forget the rest of the world."

Szygenda's personality is reflected throughout the walls, shelves, and tables in his office. There's the not-so-serious side in the framed photo of him performing a ventriloquist act at a corporate event, and his family side in the photo of him, his wife, and their now-26-year-old son at his graduation from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

His office shows that Szygenda loves being in the car business, with displays of various GM models, including a crystal 1963 Corvette, throughout. For the record, Szygenda drives a Cadillac Escalade now, but he changes cars every quarter--one of the perks of the job.

"My assistant hangs a lot of this stuff up," he says of the framed stories written about his role at GM and the trophies and plaques covering tables, desk, shelves, and the ledge below his window. A governor's citation from the state of Maryland acknowledging work that he did while the CIO of Bell Atlantic hangs on one wall. There's even an award from the American Gardening Society that reads: "Bloom Where You Are Planted."

Next to a framed poster advertising online exchange Covisint hangs a letter from GM CEO G. Richard Wagoner Jr., dated Aug. 9, 1999. It recognizes Szygenda for leading GM into E-commerce. "We've decided that going forward, we'll no longer refer to you as Ralph, but Ralph.com," the letter reads. "We have also purchased the URL (at significant expense!) and see tremendous potential for significant financial upside for a public offering of Ralph.com." Across the room sits a Ralph.com trophy.

For someone who spends a lot of his time at the office, such items are good reminders that "Success is a journey, not a destination." That comes straight from a rock on Szygenda's shelf.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The State of IT & Cybersecurity Operations 2020
The State of IT & Cybersecurity Operations 2020
Download this report from InformationWeek, in partnership with Dark Reading, to learn more about how today's IT operations teams work with cybersecurity operations, what technologies they are using, and how they communicate and share responsibility--or create risk by failing to do so. Get it now!
Commentary
Gartner Forecast Sees 7.3% Shrinkage in IT Spending for 2020
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  7/15/2020
Slideshows
10 Ways AI Is Transforming Enterprise Software
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  7/13/2020
Commentary
IT Career Paths You May Not Have Considered
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  6/30/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Key to Cloud Success: The Right Management
This IT Trend highlights some of the steps IT teams can take to keep their cloud environments running in a safe, efficient manner.
White Papers
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll