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The V3 Hot Seat: General Electric global technology director William Ruh

26 Feb 2013

General Electric Software Research Vice President William RuhWilliam Ruh is a 30-year tech veteran and former Cisco executive, now overseeing General Electric's (GE) $1.5bn software investment over the next three years and the company's new software development centre in the Silicon Valley.

In his role, Ruh is helping mobilise more than 8,000 software engineers globally to increase the pace of innovation and create new technology to advance, in particular, GE's "internet of things" strategy drive.

While at Cisco, Ruh held global responsibility for developing advanced services and solutions. Before that, he served as executive vice president and chief technology officer of Concept Five Technologies. Ruh's career has also included a stint as Software AG's chief technology officer and senior vice president.

Ruh follows other IT leaders in the V3 Hot Seat, including UK government chief operating officer Stephen Kelly and Myspace chief technology officer Fabrizio Blanco.

V3: What's your favourite part of your current job?

William Ruh: The favourite part of my current job is being able to work with a broad range of industries, each with their own set of unique problems, and all the while working alongside the best and brightest leaders in the world.

What would be your dream job (apart from your current role, of course)?

The job that I am currently doing at GE is a dream role that allows me to be innovative and a creative thinker. So, if I did not have this role, I would want another career where I could apply these very same principles - perhaps a profession like acting.

Which mobile phone and tablet do you currently use?

I am a gadget guru. For work I currently use an iPad and iPhone. At home I have an Android tablet, plus a Sony Google TV and an Apple TV, both connected.

Which person do you most admire in the IT industry?

I admire the old time giants of our industry who made it what it is today, as well as the futurists like Ray Kurzweil for their vision and efforts in forecasting future advances in technology.

Which technology has had the biggest impact on your working life?

The one technology that has had the biggest impact on my working life is the smartphone. Basically, it has made me more efficient - enabling me to communicate faster and get more work done in real-time, while I am on the move.

What's been the highlight of your career so far?

I have not had one singular highlight in my career. With that said, one experience that changed my thought process and helped to formulate my ideas for my future work in computing was my early career days with the intelligence community. I worked with imagery satellites and my access to this advanced technology changed my views on how I thought the world would advance.

What was your first job?

My very first job ever was as a paperboy at the age of 12, trying to deliver papers in North Dakota in eight feet of snow.

What's your favourite thing about working in the IT industry?

My favourite thing about working in the IT industry is the pace at which things change and have an impact on peoples' lives.

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Rosalie Marshall

Rosalie Marshall is the special projects editor and chief reporter at V3. Previously she was a reporter for IT Week and channel editor for online television site Rosalie covers government IT, business applications, IT skills, open source technology and social networks.

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