Mark Popolano compares the difference between being CIO and being chief technology officer at American International Group this way: As CTO, he was the navigator of technology; now he is the technology pilot."As CTO, you have to be very savvy to understand the nuances of technology," he explains. "The CIO has a greater responsibility across the organization to help steer the direction of technical processes."

Popolano, who joined the New York-based insurer in 1995 as senior systems officer for AIG's international property/casualty operation, says the importance of technology to support business initiatives has changed dramatically throughout the organization.

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