High-Profile CIOs Leave Posts

FRAMINGHAM (04/10/2000) - Two high-profile CIOs - Bob Bruce at Allmerica Financial Corp. and Robert Rubin at Elf Atochem North America Inc. - have resigned, in part because of upcoming changes that are in the works at those companies.

Bruce, who had been CIO at Allmerica in Worcester, Massachusetts, for three years, and Rubin, Elf Atochem's CIO for 10 years, both left their jobs at the end of last month. And each executive said it was his own decision to leave.

In Bruce's case, he said Allmerica - an insurance and financial services company with $30.8 billion in assets - wanted him to shift to a management role in one of its insurance businesses as part of a series of planned reorganizational changes.

"But it's really technology that's in my blood," 49-year-old Bruce said. He added, though, that he's now looking to cross over to the other side of the desk and become a senior executive at a technology vendor or a professional services firm.

"I think I really could help a technology company," Bruce said. "There are very few [vendors] out there that have figured out how to do business with me as a CIO."

Also contributing to Bruce's decision was the fact that an overhaul he launched of Allmerica's 850-person information technology department has been largely completed.

"It's time to let someone else manage it going forward," he said. "I really enjoy turnarounds, and it's not a turnaround situation anymore."

Rubin, who's 58, said his decision to leave Elf Atochem was triggered in part by a merger between the Philadelphia-based chemical maker's French parent company and its chief rival in that country.

Technology planning related to combining the two organizations was getting started, and "I felt I would be repeating things in my career that I had already done for the same company," Rubin said.

For example, he was involved when Elf Atochem created the North American unit by merging three U.S. companies together and again in 1998 when it bought the company that makes Plexiglas products.

Rubin added that he also wanted to depart with "enough years left in the industry that I can go out and get deep into another career." Leaving Elf Atochem "is something I've been toying with for a couple of years, and it got to the point where I couldn't think of any reason not to," he said.

Rubin has set up a consulting firm called Valley Management Consultants LLC in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania. He said he also plans to join corporate boards and teach.

Elf Atochem, a $2 billion company with about 150 people in its IT department, said Rubin has been replaced on an acting basis by Gerard Beneteau, an executive from its French headquarters.

Allmerica, which has a $175 million IT budget, said it hasn't named a new CIO yet.

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