8 things to know about Tony Scott

The newly appointed federal CIO is a pilot, an ex-smoker and someone who might not think Disneyland is the happiest place on earth.

Tony Scott  (Photo: VMware)

Being the new federal CIO will be Tony Scott's first government job, but certainly not his first turn in the CIO chair. And he has picked up a thing or two on his 35-year journey through the corporate world. Here are some bits of his background that didn't get stressed in the Office of Management and Budget's Feb. 5 hiring announcement:

  1. He's a lawyer. Scott graduated from the University of San Francisco with a bachelor of science degree in information systems management, but he also holds a law degree with a concentration in intellectual property and international law from Santa Clara University.
  2. He has said much of the challenge of being a CIO is learning to bring in new technologies quickly while continuing to deliver existing services efficiently. Here he is speaking about the greatest challenges facing CIOs:
  3. He also has experience in innovative customer service. That has been a main pillar in the Obama administration's IT agenda, and the White House launched the U.S. Digital Service for that very purpose. In an interview with the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence, Scott said: "The role of the CIO is changing rapidly in this digital evolution. No longer are we relegated to the data center. We are at the table with the chief marketing officer as brand stewards, responsible for delivering a great customer experience. There's increasing collaboration and dependence between IT and marketing here at Microsoft, which is reflected in other companies and industries as well."
  4. He has been vocal when it comes to managing employees effectively and has given talks at VMware and Microsoft about managing a multigenerational workforce:
  5. He is a pilot. After leaving Microsoft, Scott got his instrument rating (qualifications pilots must have in order to fly). He's also interested in sailing, music and ice hockey. "But with all those hobbies, it's the technology associated with them that intrigues me as much as the activity itself," Scott said in an interview with CIO magazine.
  6. He is focused on how CIOs deal with the rising costs and complexity of infrastructure and productivity tools being implemented in organizations.
  7. He was the first CIO to manage corporate-wide IT at Disney, and it wasn't smooth sailing. When Scott was senior vice president and CIO of The Walt Disney Co., he experienced a series of unfortunate events that resulted in five separate power outages at two of the company's data centers.
  8. A former smoker, Scott said quitting cigarettes has made him a better CIO. "Years ago, I quit smoking, and I quickly got recruited to train other people to quit. The thing I discovered is that there is no one way to do it," he told CIO.com. "The reasons why people smoke and why they quit both vary widely. And the methods for quitting vary. To be successful at that meant you had to figure out what would work for each person and help them go on a discovery journey to figure it out. I think finding happiness in life and in a job is the same journey."