Name: Robert Worrall
Robert (Bob) Worrall is senior vice president and chief information officer (CIO) leading Juniper’s global information technology (IT) team. In this role, he leads the ongoing enhancement of the company’s IT infrastructure and applications architectures to support the growth objectives of the company. He and his team are also responsible for showcasing Juniper’s use of its technologies to the world.
Prior to joining Juniper in 2015, Bob was senior vice president and chief information officer at NVIDIA with responsibility for deploying innovative technologies to enhance employee productivity and improve cost efficiencies. He also spent more than two decades at Sun Microsystems, including six years as chief information officer. He also held a variety of roles in Sun’s IT organization, including vice president of applications and vice president of IT operations. Worrall has extensive international business experience, including a two-year assignment in The Netherlands.
Bob holds an MBA and a bachelor’s degree from California State University, East Bay.
I got to know Bob during my 3-year stint in IT at Sun Microsystems. I was the non-IT guy who was asked to run IT for JavaSoft. Bob was an experienced IT executive running IT for the largest business unit (at the time called a planet) at Sun. He was incredibly supportive and helpful as I balanced the craziness of JavaSoft with the structure required to put in place the systems and processes required to make JavaSoft successful.
I asked Bob three questions that were specific to him.
- I was reading a couple of your recommendations on LinkedIn and one of the things that really stands out is how you inspire others. Give us some idea of how you go about doing this.
- From the time we both started our careers, the role of IT and the CIO in companies today have changed dramatically. What are some of the most significant changes and how have you adapted?
- The role of IT is often to develop and enforce governance, especially around security. This can create tension with other organizations within the company that feels like their hands are being tied and they are being slowed down. How do you deal with this tension?
I then asked Bob the same six questions that I ask all interviewees – in a lightning-round format.
- What’s the most important factor you consider when hiring someone?
- Who was your most effective boss, and what made him or her stand out?
- What was the most difficult transition that you made in your career?
- How do you approach helping someone with their career development or path?
- What tools and tricks do you use to find work-life balance?
- How do you go about building relationships with your peers and other leaders in the company?
As you will hear in the interview, Bob is incredibly humble. The people that work for him feel supported and at the same time challenged.
“I just try to set aside enough time in the day or at least make it know that we are encouraging people to take the steps to develop themselves in hopes that it helps develop the company.”
IT can be a challenging place to be, balancing the demands of the business with the needs of the company around security and compliance. Bob has always done a great job n balancing these demands.
“I pride myself on being unflappable. Whether it is the most stressful project that we have going or whatever it is. That brings a sense of calm to the conversation. It diffuses what could otherwise explode. It is not always easy, sometimes you have to bite your lip.”
Bob goes on from there to talk about the changes that have taken place in IT and how he has adapted. It is a great interview. I am sure that you will get a lot out of my podcast with Bob!
Bob’s career path took a few interesting turns along the way as he developed the experience and skills to take on the role of CIO across some of high technology’s best companies.
I hope you enjoy his story!