Governing Body Spotlight

Co-Chair of the Pittsburgh CIO Community

Francois Estellon

EVP, Global Operations and CTO


Francois Estellon is an experienced executive with a background in industrial engineering and supply chain management. He began his career as a manufacturing and quality engineer, and later founded and sold a $15M consulting firm specializing in management and IT for asset-intensive industries.

He has since held technology leadership roles at Caterpillar Global Mining and Ingersoll Rand, and currently serves as CTO and COO for Matthews International's SGK Branding division. In addition, he advises multiple start-ups and sits on the boards of the Pittsburgh Technology Council and Penn State Consortium for the Digital Enterprise. He is a regular contributor to thought leadership in the technology industry and has been recognized as a finalist for the Pittsburgh CIO of the Year award and a Top 100 Technology Leader by Computer World.

Learn more about the Pittsburgh CIO community here.

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

My path to my current role started with studying industrial engineering in France and receiving a master's degree in supply chain and manufacturing management in Sweden. I began my career as a manufacturing engineer in heavy industries, and later worked as a senior consultant for a large chemical company's ERP implementation at PwC Germany. 

I founded my own consulting firm, which grew into a multimillion-dollar global operation. After the sale of my company, I built on my technology and business experience to take on a couple of CIO roles at public and private equity large companies. All these experiences prepared me for my current role as COO and CTO for SGK, running an organization of over 3500 people globally.

What is one of your guiding leadership principles?

Our organizational culture is based on 4 leadership principles from the top of the organization to all our people.

  1. Trust: trust that everybody has our best interest in mind
  2. Transparency: there is no bad news, just news.
  3. Objective data: make decisions based on facts and data, not emotions
  4. Improve continuously: we will be better tomorrow than today, next week than this week, next year than this year.

With disruption being a key theme of the past year, where do you see your role as a CIO going in the next 1-2 years?

The border between different C-level roles is getting blurrier by the minute - where does the operation/supply chain start and where does the technology roadmap intersect? It's both at the same time, and they need to be closely aligned in one leadership role.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the role as a CIO?

Be relentlessly curious. Ask questions, keep asking and once you have the answer, keep asking again.

Tell us 3 fun facts about yourself.

  1. I paid taxes in 9 different countries.
  2. I shaved my head during COVID and have a hard time deciding to grow my hair back.
  3. I speak 4 languages.

What is the value of participating in a professional community through Evanta? 

Evanta provides the opportunity to network with peers, gain access to exclusive content and insights from thought leaders, and participate in discussions and events focused on industry-specific challenges and opportunities. Here, we share best practices, collaborate on solutions, and stay informed about the latest trends and developments in our field.

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.

by CIOs, for CIOs

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