CIO, American Airlines
Since American Airlines spun off its technology arm, Sabre, in 2000, CIO Ford has had to rebuild. "We lost the technological edge," says Ford, 50, who had worked in IT but had zero experience in the airline industry. "We needed to build it back into the company." He's spent the past decade dismantling the airline's mainframe architecture and replacing it with modular systems. In August the company announced a partnership with Hewlett-Packard to build a new passenger service system that takes advantage of the efficiencies of cloud computing. Ford also introduced YADA (Your Assistance Delivered Anywhere), a handheld device that lets employees assist customers anywhere in the airport. --B.K.
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Last updated July 09 2010: 1:19 PM ET