IT Chief

Drving Sales for a Social Media Darling

Tim Campos, BCEMBA 11

CIO, Facebook, Menlo Park, Calif.

 

In 2009, Tim Campos was at what most people would think of as the top of his game. The only person who didn’t think so was Tim Campos. Still in his mid-30s, he had been the youngest chief information officer of any Fortune 500 company - KLA-Tencor, a leading supplier of semiconductor equipment and services - after stints at Sybase and Silicon Graphics, among others.

 

But he felt he needed a change, so he enrolled in the Berkeley-Columbia Executive MBA Program. “People said I was crazy,” he says.

 

“But my career had stagnated. I almost felt like the old adage that ‘CIO’ meant ‘career is over’ applied to me.”

 

But, wait - he’s still a CIO. The difference, and it’s a big one, is that he’s the CIO of Facebook. The role of the information chief is radically changing, perhaps nowhere more than inside the social media giant’s Menlo Park headquarters. Campos likes to say that next-generation CIOs are becoming more like chief operating officers, with a much greater emphasis on the business performance of the company (though he’s careful to note that he’s not trying to put Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg out of a job).

 

“As tech becomes more advanced, it becomes easier to manage,” Campos says. “And the role of the CIO becomes more about business results - sales.” He sees his main role as ensuring that the company’s technology is always helping to drive revenue in some way. For example, Facebook has millions of small advertisers (as well as lots of big ones). Managing that massive customer base “is very much a data-analytics problem,” he says.

 

Campos earned undergraduate degrees in electrical engineering and computer science at Cal before going on to take highly technical jobs at tech companies. So, was it a big culture shock when he joined Facebook in 2010 - Not at all. “Facebook is a very engineering-driven company,” he says. And the change was just what he had been seeking when he decided to earn his MBA. “It’s empowering. There’s not a lot of bureaucracy in the management. And yet, it’s more disciplined in some ways” than his previous employers.

 

Still young at 39, Campos is nevertheless 10 years older than CEO Mark Zuckerberg. That’s not a problem either. It’s new for him to work for a company with a “charismatic leader,” he says, and he likes it. “I came here wondering whether this company was lucky or smart. Now I know - it’s definitely smart.”

 


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