Governing Body Spotlight

Governing Body Member of the Denver CIO Community

Brian Gabbard

SVP, CIO and Head of Global Shared Services

Ball Corporation

Brian Gabbard is currently the senior vice president, chief information officer, and head of global shared services for Ball Corporation, where he leads the global business services (GBS), global data services (GDS), and global technology services (GTS) organizations towards achieving operational excellence and business value. 

Beyond his corporate role, Brian is actively involved within his community, serving on the board of Redemption House, a recovery center for those battling alcohol and drug addiction. I am also a passionate potter and artist, and work to infuse creativity into every aspect of my life.

Learn more about the Denver CIO community here.

Give us a brief overview of the path that led to your current role.

My first leadership role was in 1995 in technology shared services managing end user services.  My leadership journey has spanned every area of information technology, data, and cyber, as well as leadership experiences across the business. 

Over the course of my 30+ year career, I have had the privilege of establishing and managing 22 business service centers across 18 countries that cover a diverse set of business services, such as supply chain, finance, HR, commercial, and information technology.

What is one of your guiding leadership principles?

I am a servant leader that strives to ignite passion within others, creating a space where individuals can tap into their fullest potential and bring out their best selves.

I am a true believer that everyone possesses a spark of brilliance within them, and my mission as a leader is to bring that genius to the forefront and allow it to shine.

At its core, servant leadership is about impassioned leadership that creates the environment where team members can bring their best each and every day.

What is the greatest challenge your particular C-level role is facing today, and how are you addressing it?

Three key challenges and opportunities: 

  1. Delivery: Velocity and volume to meet business demand in support of business strategy and growth
  2. Repeatable patterns: Driving an operating model that lends itself to be efficient and effective.  For me this is about leaning into repeatable patterns (process, data, technology, operating model) that enables business strategy.
  3. Talent development: Technological change is happening at an unprecedented pace. Talent development continues to be core to our operating and business success. For example, the emergence of generative AI and the progress toward artificial general intelligence is driving new patterns in ways of working. The nature of work is evolving. How we invest in talent from a training and planned experience level is critical as the nature of work and the skills required evolves.

What is the key to success for someone just starting out in your C-level role?

Head, heart, and hands. For me, success as a CIO is being able to help your team members cognitively understand business strategy (head), create ownership and engagement with your teams on the business strategy and translate it into the role they play (heart), and align IT objectives and delivery (data, process, technology, talent, services) to achieve business success (hands).

How do you measure success as a leader?

There is no such thing as an information technology strategy in my point of view. There is a business strategy and that includes the strategic elements of information technology to enable it.

I take a balanced scorecard approach to measuring success with a focus on key performance indicators around four key areas: financial, operations, customer, and talent, which are all aligned to business key performance indicators.

What is the value of being a member of the Evanta community?

The community and best practice sharing are aspects that are important to me. I believe the answer is in the room. We just need to ask the question.

Evanta Governing Body members share their insights and leadership perspectives to shape the agendas and topics that address the top priorities impacting business leaders today.

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