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2022 CIO of the Year Awards - Press Realease

CHICAGO - In partnership with The Society of Information Management (SIM) Chicago Chapter and the AITP Chicago Chapter, The Executives’ Club of Chicago is thrilled to announce Amir Arooni as the winner of the 2022 CIO of the Year Award. The CIO of the Year Award has been presented for 27 years to a Chicago-based CIO whose accomplishments and innovations have created meaningful advances in the city’s IT field. 

In addition to CIO of the Year, the CIO Innovator of the Year and the CIO+ awards were also presented. Kevin Lowell, Senior VP of Information Technology at US Cellular, was recognized as the CIO Innovator of the Year, which recognizes a CIO who has been especially innovative in their approach to producing business results. Janet Zelenka, EVP, CIO, and CFO at Stericycle was honored with the CIO+ Award, which celebrates a CIO who has successfully expanded their current role into other business areas and broadened their impact on driving success for the overall business entity.

Winners were determined over a multi-phased process that began with an extensive written submission by the nominees detailing their leadership approach and achievements over the prior year. These submissions were reviewed and scored on a 1-10 basis by a panel consisting of 14 of their peers (CIOs, CISO, and Senior Executives).

The CIO of the Year award is given to an individual with experience in driving business value through creative leadership, innovating through technology, creating business partnerships, and fostering a best-in-class workplace for IT professionals. Arooni’s contributions and accomplishments throughout the course of his career were celebrated at the SIM Chicago Awards Gala at The Union League Club on Thursday, October 13 with executives and guests from across the greater Chicago area.  

Amir Arooni is the Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer responsible for setting the technology strategy and ensuring its successful execution.  He works across three lines of business, Card, Bank & Payments, and its executive leadership teams, to ensure alignment with the firm's business strategy.  Arooni is directly accountable for all IT strategy, infrastructure, application development, architecture, security, controls and applications for the technology group.

Arooni joined Discover in 2020 with more than 30 years of IT experience in the financial services industry, including his most recent role at NN Group, a spinoff of ING, as Global CIO of their insurance, asset management and banking business units. Prior to that, he spent over 15 years with ING in different roles of increasing scope, culminating as CIO and Head of Global Digital Channels and Payments Services for ING Global Commercial Banking. Arooni led diverse teams in multiple countries, driving change and introducing new ways of working at ING, and later at NN group. He also spent several years consulting with Cap Gemini.

“Thank you to AITP Chicago, SIM Chicago and The Executives’ Club of Chicago. It is a privilege to be honored with this award, on behalf of Discover Financial Services and our Business Technology team,” said Arooni. “I feel fortunate to be a part of such an outstanding organization. Together we have built a strong engineering culture, engineering practices, and have transformed our technology function and the way we work to make a real impact on how we deliver for our customers.”

To learn more about the 2022 CIO of the Year Awards, click here. 

About The Executives' Club of Chicago:

The Executives' Club of Chicago is the city's premier resource for connecting, developing, and growing best-in-class leaders to strengthen themselves and their organizations. The Executives’ Club of Chicago is where the relationships that build a better Chicago begin. This is where the future meets.  For more information about the nexus of Chicago business, visit 


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