Wanted: One Tough TechieKathleen Kerwin and Wendy Zellner
General Motors is scouting for a new chief information officer. BUSINESS WEEK has learned that headhunters at Russell Reynolds Associates are beating the bushes for a computer honcho who could plot GM's technical strategy and look out for its interests in dealings with its Electronic Data Systems unit. A GM spokeswoman confirms the search, but won't discuss it. Scuttlebutt--denied by GM--is that the new job will pay up to $1 million.
The search signals GM's new get-tough attitude toward EDS, which it plans to spin off this spring. The two companies are hammering out a new contract for how EDS will handle GM's data services after the spin-off, and sources say GM wants to slash costs. That has got to be disturbing for EDS: GM's business, $3.9 billion last year, accounts for 31% of its total revenues. GM can't get too tough because its pension fund owns 31% of EDS's stock. Still, says EDS Senior Vice-President Gary Fernandes: "GM is interested in structural cost savings wherever it can get them."