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Chief Technology Officer - 2007594 

EOE StatementCarnegie Mellon University is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Disability/Veteran.

The SEI requests that any inquiries about this position be directed to Joel Willett and Eric Sigurdson at Russell Reynolds Associates (see below). The SEI will not respond to any direct outreach.

Our Client:

Our client, the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute (SEI), is seeking a highly experienced and dynamic candidate to fill the position of Chief Technical Officer (CTO).

Since 1984, the SEI has served the nation as a federally funded research and development center. As part of Carnegie Mellon University, which is well known for its highly rated programs in computer science and engineering, the SEI operates at the leading edge of technical innovation.

The SEI helps advance software engineering principles and practices and serves as a national resource in software engineering, computer security, and process improvement. We work closely with defense and government organizations, industry, and academia to continually improve software-intensive systems. Our core purpose is to help organizations improve software engineering capabilities and develop or acquire the right software, defect free, within budget and on time, every time.

SEI is positioned at the nexus of academia, government and industry and undertakes the following activities to fulfill its mission as a national resource:

  • Performs research to advance and mature the discipline of engineering and securing software systems
  • Builds proof-of-concept and demonstration systems that are used in conjunction with stakeholders, to assess the viability of new approaches to mission challenges
  • Widely disseminates recent advances and proven solutions relevant to is mission statement
  • Deploys domain expertise, on-demand in short order to assist with critical, urgent or sensitive government program challenges

SEI aspires to bring software-based capabilities with confidence to the Department of Defense and other government entities. Confidence is multi-faceted—in cost and schedule, in functionality, in security, and in desirable architectural properties (i.e., the “ilities” or non-functional requirements such as reliability, sustainability, extensibility, flexibility, availability, safety, etc.). It is also the confidence that people with moderate levels of education and training are able to operate software systems effectively and safely.

The SEI is recognized internationally for its work in software engineering and cyber security. For more information, you may visit the SEI web site at

The Role:

Would you like to set the course for the research direction of an internationally recognized institute focused on software engineering and cybersecurity?

As a member of the executive leadership team and reporting to the Director/Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) has a strategic focus. The CTO role formulates technical strategy that is responsive to the needs of our sponsor and that demonstrates a forward leaning view of technology. With a total budget for the institute of approximately $150 million, the CTO has a direct impact and responsibility for $20 million of research funding which we wish to grow. Additionally, this role provides technical oversight and influence over the entire SEI program.

Although the CTO is engaged in providing input and shares in the development of the overall SEI strategic plan, you will ultimately have responsibility for the creation and maintenance of our research plan. You will develop this plan based on current and predicted future trends in technology, government and industry with feedback from the research programs and through performance indicators. You ensure that the programs’ research plans are aligned with the overall research strategy plan. Your responsibilities will also include technical and business reviews of line funded projects, and for a program that explores and cultivates new research that develops, realizes, and transitions the strategic research vision. This role is also responsible for understanding the breadth of technical work at the SEI.

The key responsibilities of the CTO are:

  • Leading and reviewing the funded research program.
  • Creating a long range vision and developing it into an executable strategic research program.
  • Conducting activities to predict the future of technology in both industry and government
  • Creating and overseeing an exploratory program.
  • Enhancing the brand and reputation of the SEI with current and future constituents in academia, government, and the private sector.
  • Supporting the Director/CEO and Deputy Director/COO in the conduct of reviews (programmatic, financial, technical).
  • Presenting SEI research strategic direction and technical overviews at professional and technical meetings (for example, representing the SEI at professional meetings such as, IEEE or ACM SWE Conferences, DDR&E and DARPA program reviews, etc.)
  • Identifying opportunities for technical integration among initiatives.
  • Presenting SEI research strategy plan and technical overviews at professional and technical meetings (for example, representing the SEI at professional meetings such as IEEE or ACM technical conferences, DARPA program reviews, and to forums associated with ASD(R&E), USD(AT&L), Service SAEs, PEOs, and other key partners in DoD, IC, USG, and industry).
  • Mentor and guide technical staff and teams.
  • Act as a trusted liaison between the SEI and Carnegie Mellon faculty.

Candidate Profile:

Ideally you have obtained a PhD in Computer Science, Engineering, or a related discipline. You will also have a minimum of 15 years of progressively increasing CTO responsibilities running large complex research projects in a university, the Department of Defense, or in a software intensive systems environment. You have demonstrated experience in building and leading high technology teams. You possess knowledge of the software engineering discipline and the software acquisition process as well as cyber expertise and familiarity with cyber missions. You are able to demonstrate experience managing large, complex, research projects that were focused on information technology, software technology, assurance, cyber and/or software engineering. Management experience within a university, government, military, and/or Fortune 500 technology-based organization is preferred.

Additionally, you should possess:

  • Tier one academic experience with a stellar reputation.
  • Strong business insight and be a visionary with purpose.
  • Demonstrated exposure to the cybersecurity and software engineering space.
  • A reputation for applied and/or theoretical research and be well published.
  • Success in securing support and funding for research projects.
  • Track record of accomplishment in leading the research agenda for technology-based organizations.
  • Strong influencing skills.
  • Demonstrated ability in developing a strategic plan to accomplish goals.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the DoD and Federal acquisition and developer communities.
  • Reputation for the highest level of integrity.
  • High comfort level with ambiguity.
  • Success at building consensus within a matrixed organization.
  • Excellent oral, written and presentation skills.
  • Able to obtain a clearance at the Top Secret level.

What would we expect from you in terms of setting strategy?

  • You have the creativity and articulation needed to inspire vision not only for the areas you are directly responsible for, but for the entire organization.
  • You are inclined to seek and analyze data from a variety of sources to support decisions and to align others with the institute's overall strategy.
  • You demonstrate an entrepreneurial and creative approach to developing new, innovative ideas that will stretch the organization and push the boundaries within the industry.
  • You possess the skill to effectively balance the desire and need for broad change with an understanding of how much change the organization is capable of handling, to create realistic goals and implementation plans that are achievable and successful.

How will you execute for results?

  • You set clear and challenging goals while committing the organization to improved performance; tenacious and accountable in getting results.
  • You are comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty; and adapt nimbly and lead others through complex situations.
  • You are a risk-taker who seeks data and input from others to foresee possible threats or unintended circumstances from decisions; someone who takes smart risks.
  • You are viewed by others as having a high degree of integrity and forethought in your approach to making decisions; to act in a transparent and consistent manner while always taking into account what is best for the organization.

What will your approach be to leading teams?

  • You can attract and recruit top talent, motivate the team, delegate effectively, celebrate diversity within the team, and manage performance; widely viewed as a strong developer of others.
  • You have experience persevering in the face of challenges, and exhibit a steadfast resolve and relentless commitment to higher standards, which garners respect from followers.
  • As a technology leader you are self-reflective and aware of your own limitations; lead by example and drive the organization's performance with an attitude of continuous improvement by being open to feedback and self-improvement.

How will you build relationships and influence?

  • You naturally connect and build strong relationships with others, demonstrating strong emotional intelligence and an ability to communicate clearly and persuasively.
  • You inspire trust in others through compelling influence, powerful charisma, passion in your beliefs, and active drive.
  • You are willing to share the spotlight and visibly celebrate and support the success of the team.

The CTO creates a sense of purpose and meaning for the team that generates followership beyond his/her own personality and engages others to the greater purpose for the SEI as a whole.

The SEI requests that any inquiries about this position be directed to Joel Willett and Eric Sigurdson at Russell Reynolds Associates. The SEI will not respond to any direct outreach.


Eric Sigurdson
Russell Reynolds Associates
155 North Wacker Drive
Suite 4100
Chicago, IL 60606-1732
Tel: +1-312-993-9696
Mobile: +1-312-543-4861

Joel Willett
Russell Reynolds Associates
1700 New York Ave
Suite 400
Washington, DC 20006
Tel: +1-202-654-7816

Mobile: +1-502-608-7815

More Information

Please visit “Why Carnegie Mellon” to learn more about becoming part of an institution inspiring innovations that change the world.

A listing of employee benefits is available at:

Carnegie Mellon University is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Disability/Veteran.

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