Formerly: CIO, BankAtlantic
How He's Done: DeVaux, 54, has planned his career with care. He took his bachelor’s in electrical engineering to the oil business, where he worked in computer exploration of oil fields. Next was IBM, where he scoped custom applications for clients for six years. Along the way, he got an M.B.A., thinking the finance skills would enhance his value.
During his seven-year stint as CIO of Union Planters, a Memphis, Tenn.-based bank, DeVaux fashioned himself as a consultant, talking with loan managers, retail bankers and other operating groups about their plans and how he could help with technology. When he moved to BankAtlantic in 2001, he says, he came with the understanding, though no guarantee, that the COO position would be his to earn.
“After you move from a pure technology CIO to a tech-business bridge, the next logical step is to move over to the business side,” he says. Now, with more than two years in as COO, CEO is his next goal. But he’s cautious, saying he needs several more years leading operations before he can feel ready to make the leap.
To other tech executives who want to climb, he advises picking up profit-and-loss responsibilities at some point, to demonstrate that you can be accountable for results. Also, cultivate a successor for your current job, so when upper management looks at you for a promotion, DeVaux says,“They can say, ‘He’s ready and now’s the time.’”