5 questions with CIO-turned-CEO Ted Colbert


The Boeing Global Services president and CEO shares the leadership wisdom he lives by and why it’s not IT’s job to give the business what it wants.

Boeing Global Services

Ted Colbert is president and chief executive officer of Boeing Global Services, where he leads the aerospace services development and delivery model for commercial, government and business aviation industry customers worldwide. Prior to becoming CEO in October of 2019, Ted served as Boeing’s CIO and senior vice president of information technology & data analytics. In that role he led all aspects of information technology, information security, and data and analytics and supported the growth of Boeing’s business through IT and analytics-related revenue generating programs.

Ted made a fairly rapid ascent to the C-suite of a Fortune 100 company, and he credits the cumulative effect of learning and knowledge he picked up along the way working in different industries, jobs and areas of organizations.

When I spoke with Ted for the CIO Whisperer’s podcast, we talked about the leadership role models, mentors, and lessons that helped prepare him to take on big jobs and opportunities, among them his transition from CIO to CEO and his appointment to the Board of Directors at ADM. After the show, he shared some more of his leadership wisdom, philosophy and keys to success. What follows is that off-air conversation, lightly edited for length and clarity.

Dan Roberts: Can you take us inside the “Ted Colbert Playbook”? By my count, you’ve now applied this playbook to at least four levels of leadership: Director, VP, CIO, and CEO.

Ted Colbert: Over the course of my career, I’ve worked and lived through several significant challenges in the auto, financial services, and now aerospace industries. During each of those experiences, I’ve led at different levels of each company, and the lessons learned about leading through and emerging from each crisis were invaluable.

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