CARY,Suzanne Gordon, a long-time veteran of SAS, is the new chief information officer for the world’s largest privately held software company.

“SAS has always done a great job of using its technology to run the business and gain competitive advantage,” Gordon said in a statement about her new role. “Now, we have an opportunity to further differentiate SAS by leveraging our industry-leading solutions. I look forward to being part of this continued success for years to come.”

Local Tech Wire interviewed Gordon at length earlier this year when she was one of only 11 women named to the Computerworld Premier 100 IT Leaders in 2003. She talked at length about her job — and how she keeps searching for new ideas and technology.

“As vice president of information technology, I direct the systems development, hardware implementations, strategic support and budget activities of the SAS Information Systems organization,” she said. “As such, I am responsible for establishing strategic and tactical plans for all information systems departments, working with other company divisions and aligning our strategy with the goals of the company.”

But Gordon does not rely on her own skill sets.

“I try to read to stay up to date, but I must rely on the folks in each area who are really interested in their specific technology,” she explained. “Since SAS is a software company, there are plenty of “technical experts” in R&D who keep me up-to-date on the latest technology. There are two, in particular, whom I try to have lunch with at least once a month so I can pick their brains.”

Gordon also said teamwork is a crucial factor in success. Another is focusing on the future and change.

“I define success with these questions: Are we helping the company be successful? Are folks motivated and challenged? And do we have good teamwork?,” she said. “My secret to success is persistence, openness, a short memory for negative things, and a willingness to listen and to change.”

Gordon already served as vice president of information systems at SAS. Her additional responsibilities mean that Gordon will coordinate development strategies throughout the firm.

“One of Suzanne’s key focus areas continues to be the alignment of IT resources with other business units within SAS,” said Keith Collins, senior vice president and chief technology officer at SAS, in a statement. “Her advocacy of SAS software for internal applications over the years has helped the company realize its vision of being an intelligent company, one that demonstrates market leadership through innovative use of data and information systems.”

Gordon has worked at SAS for more than 20 years and led the management information services department for much of that time. She was promoted to vice president of SAS Information Systems Division in March of last year. Gordon also has worked with the SAS Professional Services Division and as director of National Technical Consulting.

Jim Goodnight, president and chief executive officer of SAS, praised Gordon in announcing her new duties.

“Throughout her career at SAS, Suzanne has proven herself to be an exemplary leader who wants what’s best for the company,” he said. “She has seen and acted on many opportunities for us to achieve the highest levels of efficiency and effectiveness in our internal use of technology and that perspective will continue to be vital to SAS’ future.”

Gordon is a graduate of North Carolina State University. She was named to the Triangle Business Journal named her one of the top 25 women in business for 2003.