Chief Information Officer
Marykay Wells, Pearson’s CIO, has successfully demonstrated over a 30-year executive-level career in IT that CIOs can have a far-reaching positive impact beyond a technology domain. Following previous highly successful CIO roles at Nortel, Tekelec (acquired by Oracle) and Extreme Networks, she currently serves as a key member of Pearson’s leadership team, leading the execution of its corporate digital transformation strategy that is driving the company’s shift from print to digital products. She leads a team of around 2000 IT professionals worldwide, building state of the art global platforms and solutions to drive a step change in efficiency, simplicity and consistently great user and customer experiences. She employs a multi-faceted approach to leadership; simplifying the technology, speeding up delivery to market and providing a work environment that highlights both diversity and innovation.
Marykay challenges and insists on looking for new ways to move the business forward – leveraging both recent technologies and embracing strong partnerships. This approach has enabled teams to adopt and learn from each other while innovating and accelerating new ways to generate revenue and improve customer experiences. Marykay actively strives to build a strong network both internally and externally. She has devised approaches to introduce new company executives to the technology team by utilizing leadership conversations so the technology employees can get to know the new executives in an informal setting.
Marykay is also active in tackling issues around diversity in the IT industry. She has established strong partnerships with many universities supporting intern programs and sponsoring practicum projects for graduate students. This keen focus on skills development and learning has resulted in a proven ability to insource innovative technology initiatives with a substantially diverse and innovative workforce. In 2018 Marykay launched a Women in Technology initiative at Pearson focused on attracting, retaining and developing talent worldwide across all Pearson Technology. Under her executive sponsorship there has been an almost double-digit growth in women in technology fields at Pearson rising from 21% to 30%, with active plans to improve this further and increase male allyship.
Marykay also devotes time in forging strong relationships externally. Marykay was an early member of the T200 in which she organized the summit in 2019 along with strong participation as member of the organizing committee for the Accenture Women’s Summit, Salesforce Advisory Board, Google Leadership Advisory, and a member of the Gartner Research Board.
Marykay and her teams have received numerous internal and external awards recognizing her contributions. Most recent awards include the 2021 and 2022 Google Cloud customer of the year, Stevie award for CRM excellence, Women in Tech excellence award as CIO of the year in 2020; Women in IT awards – IT team of the year led by a Woman in 2020, Pearson 2019 Chairman’s Changemaker Award for her leadership in driving meaningful digital business optimization and transformation at Pearson.