At first glance, Bruce C. Carver looks more like a linebacker than a corporate vice president.
At 6 foot 3 inches tall with massive shoulders, he is an imposing figure.
But Carver, hired by Dana Corp. CEO Mike Burns in September to lead a massive restructuring of Dana's (dana.com) IT organization, does not have the home field advantage. He's never been a chief information officer at an auto supplier or manufacturer. Carver, 44, spent his previous four years at PepsiCo.
Carver faces the biggest challenge of his career. His mission:
"What he brings is business experience in how to consolidate and rationalize on the IT side," says Dan Oxyer, a vice president at global consulting firm A.T. Kearney
() in Southfield, Mich.
"PepsiCo () is known as a factory for generating high-quality CIOs. It shows Dana is very serious about cost synergies, infrastructure and architecture related to restructuring."
Carver will not do all the heavy lifting himself. He believes in group consensus and teamwork. Little wonder he spent most of his first 90 days away from his Toledo, Ohio, office, crisscrossing the globe to learn about Dana's operations, its people and its way of doing business.
"His style is very participatory," says Jerry Fox, a key Carver lieutenant who runs Dana's global IT operations. "He expects us to play a key role and deliver our portion of the long-term challenge. We all know now if one of us is unsuccessful, none of us are successful."
Carver is no stranger to change. He faced plenty as CIO of PepsiCo's $8.5 billion beverages and foods division. The big challenge there: integrating IT systems after the PepsiCo-Quaker Oats merger of 2001.
To listen to him, Carver's task at Dana - a supplier of steering, chassis and electronic components with global sales of about $9.1 billion last year - can be summed in just a handful of words.
"I take dissimilar things and put them together," he says.
But it is much more complex.
Like many Tier 1 suppliers, Dana is struggling with global competition, thin margins, rising raw material prices and production cuts from its Big 3 customers. Information technology, once a "behind-the-curtains operation," is being looked at more as a competitive advantage, helping companies to streamline operations to cut time and costs.
Carver sees responsiveness as critical to Dana's ability to succeed in the marketplace.
"When you go to GM today, they want to talk about the Dana relationship, not pistons, axle rings or driveshafts," he says. "Customers want you to respond on shared cost and reducing cost overall."
Cutting costs and eliminating bureaucracy are critical to Carver's mission.
Says Gary Corrigan, Dana's vice president of communications: "I've never seen such focus on waste reduction in the industry. We're under tremendous pressure to grow the business and reduce costs. Today, you need an electronic integration process to do JIT (just-in-time) manufacturing."
That's why it was not unusual that Dana turned to an outsider, Corrigan says.
"Dana has always hired professionals outside the company to do critical jobs needed," he says. "With Bruce, Dana is looking at IT integration with finance, human resources, purchasing and sales."
Before Carver arrived, Dana's IT structure comprised eight separate entities - overseen by "mini CIOs" as Carver calls them - who independently ran everything from IT operations and financials to business processes and software applications. Decisions were politely shared, but the structure was more bureaucratic than efficient.
But IT management has become centralized, with Carver as the boss.
Tom Luckett, Dana's director of IT enterprise business and an 18-year Dana veteran, says: "We're doing a complete corporate transformation. It's not just changing, but a complete shift. We are aligning ourselves and will look very similar to what the overall Dana business is doing."
The game has changed, Carver says.
"Today, it's change or be changed," Carver says. "Our organization is evolving so we can play the game for the next 100 years."