The Art of the Turnaround with Pete Gibson (Part 1)

Pete Gibson, CIO & CITO of Johnny Rocket’s and Friendly’s Restaurant, recalls the lessons learned from his time in the military and working on the team that developed the technology for Tomahawk cruise missiles. He says these lessons impacted his whole career, from developing high-reliability systems and software quality assurance to software architecture and project management to running a technology organization.

In this episode of Net Effects Podcast, co-host Mark Bavisotto interviews Pete about his time in the military, leading innovation teams, and leaning into leadership. 

Episode highlights:

  • As a leader going to a new organization, you always have to realize that it’s a new organization. “You are always going to be the heart and soul of the organization, and it will take on your persona, but at the beginning of it, you have got to evaluate which tools to bring with you. And each one is different. If you miscalculate, you can have issues,” says Pete, emphasizing the need to adapt and evaluate the organization and its culture.
  • Common denominator of successful turnaround: Leadership. Pete specializes in turning around organizations, primarily when the IT organization is not adding value. He says that in addition to leadership, success comes from holding people and the business accountable and rewarding people for the quality jobs that they do.
  •  It’s not an “either-or” when weighing the goals of the business. It’s about meeting the needs of the business. In the process of how you do things, there must be a conversation before developing processes and putting a plan together. Collaborate with the team and create a contract that works best without putting employees in an impossible task (i.e., make sure tools and resources are there). Always work with your team and play to their strengths.
  •  “Greatness” is up for individual interpretation. When it comes to work-life balance, people often sacrifice in other areas to be successful. Be comfortable with who you are.

Other episode topics include digital transformation, leading with a plan and integrity, and more. Listen to the full episode now.

About Pete Gibson: Executive technology leader with a solid record of successfully leveraging technology, improving operations, and developing high-performing teams globally. As Chief Information Officer, Pete has extensive experience in improving revenue and technology organizations. He has a reputation for innovative technology solutions and realigning organizations to increase business profitability, IT value, grow revenue, and drive down costs while improving overall business operating efficiency. 

• Extensive Range and Depth – Proven ability to create and implement strategic systems and solutions as well as new products and services. Systems included two Fortune 10 e-commerce sites, transactional, clouds, and data analytics solutions, as well as the US Navy’s Tomahawk Cruise Missile.

• Known for Improving Business Revenue – As Chief Operating Officer & Chief Information Officer, focused on developing and executing strategies that improved revenue and promote growth.

• Proven Technology Leader – Record of developing high-performing teams across diverse industries globally to improve industries.

• Strategic Yet Practical – Solves complex business problems by identifying and leveraging technologies, processes, and people. 

•Latest Technologies – Current on latest technologies and it’s application. 

Pete has successfully improved organizations from multiple C-level posts (COO, CIO, CTO, CDO), directed six large technology organization turnarounds, and improved company revenue by up to 31 percent, and reduced costs by 30 percent. 

Specialties: A strong interpersonal leader who enjoys leading complex technology organizations. IT management experience includes; international, multi-business units, shared services, franchisor, outsourced, and IT services organizations. As Chief Information Officer, he has successfully led mergers and acquisitions, organization improvements/turn arounds, start-ups, Chapter 11 reorganization, and for-profit IT services organizations.