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Trading Technology

01:09 PM
Jon Beyman, CIO, Lehman Brothers
Jon Beyman, CIO, Lehman Brothers
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Dear CIO...

Jonathan Beyman is chief of operations and technology at Lehman Brothers, as well as an executive vice president.

Jonathan Beyman is chief of operations and technology at Lehman Brothers, as well as an executive vice president. In addition, Beyman has served as the firm's CIO since 2000.

Are many new mid- to senior-level technology positions being created within your firm? Under what circumstances would you bring someone new on board from the outside as opposed to promoting someone internally? Are there certain skill sets that are particularly in demand at this time?

The first answer is that, yes, a number of new positions are being created, owing largely to Lehman's growth, and the fact that the changing nature of the businesses in which we compete, as well as driving productivity in those businesses, is often a question of implementing technology. This has been true even in difficult economic times when we were cutting back expenses and reducing our aggregate head count.

All things being equal, I prefer promoting internally, but sometimes that's difficult if the right candidate can't be freed up, or we need a particular technical skill that doesn't exist internally in abundance. Bringing in someone from the outside into a management role has pluses and minuses. Clearly, it's great to get new blood and new ideas into the organization - to challenge the status quo and get new perspectives, as well as to get more depth. The downside is that it's riskier than promoting from within; it's hard to know how new hires will fare until they hit the ground, and making a bad hire is much worse than making no hire at all. The more senior the role, the more true this is.

In general - and it's certainly true these days - strong project management skills, coupled with domain expertise in capital market trading systems, risk management and trading analytics, are in very high demand. So are certain infrastructure skills, particularly in the area of security. The skill that will always be in demand, regardless of the specifics of the job, is what I call the "GSD factor": the ability to "get stuff done", take initiative, move the needle, make a difference. As an organization, no matter how good you are or how big you are, you never have enough people with enough GSD!

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