Growing up in South Africa, Bruce Mathews became interested in computer technology early on. “Ever since I can remember, I was interested in technology—specifically information technology,” says Mathews, who is currently the CIO at Resideo. “I got my first computer and was so fascinated by what it could do and the possibilities for how it could change our lives. That may have been a little dramatic for a teenager, but I started messing around with programming and couldn’t wait to see the impact it could make.”
He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Natal in Durban, South Africa, and later his master’s degree in information and knowledge strategy at Columbia. Throughout his career, Mathews has taken his passion for IT and used it effectively to drive business outcomes.
“It’s really an inspiration that I developed at high school and took through university and the military, into my career and to where I am today,” he explains. “There have been a couple of inflection points in my career where I could have done one thing, but I did something else.”
In the late nineties, Mathews was working as a consultant in South Africa for an established reseller of a midrange software solutions company headquartered outside London, where he would travel from time to time for work. Although the business was thriving, he took a chance to join a start-up consulting business, but his desire to get international experience soon won out.
“One of my goals was to see the world, and that’s something that my career has definitely helped me do,” Mathews shares. “I’ve worked all over Europe and Asia, and I spent a lot of time working with clients across the United States. This has been really rewarding and helped me grow personally and professionally.”
He accomplished this by speaking with the London-based company and learning they were starting up US operations. Mathews volunteered to help be a part of the early stages. It was only a couple of weeks later when they invited him to join their operation in Houston, Texas.
In 2001, he began his long stint at Honeywell, deploying and managing major ERP systems for various businesses and rising through the IT ranks. “I never planned to spend such a large part of my career there, but it was very fertile ground for someone to learn the business and grow,” Mathews recounts.
This gave him the knowledge and skills to be a driving force for change and success leveraging technology.
In late 2017, Honeywell decided to spin off its Homes Product Portfolio and ADI Distribution businesses to create a new publicly traded company called Resideo, in addition to spinning off its transportation division called Garrett Motion. By that time, Mathews had been at Honeywell for nearly two decades and had developed extensive experience managing large-scale global technology change and optimization initiatives and driving new digital business capabilities.
Mathews was asked to lead the formation of both spins from an IT standpoint, and energetically took on this role.
“The challenge with spinoffs, especially with large diverse conglomerates like Honeywell, is for years and years, they do everything to drive synergies and leverage by establishing a common shared business and technology architecture,” he notes. “From an IT standpoint, the separation required in a spin is typically under a tight timeline and definitely affects the whole organization.”
In the year leading up to the spin, Mathews and his team partnered closely with the business to get to an arm’s length financial and operational state for Resideo and Garrett. That included cloning and implementing new systems, reconfiguring systems to align with the new legal entity structure, separating data and infrastructure, and building new IT and cyber organizations.
During the spins, Mathews was offered the role of CIO of Resideo to transform the company’s entire IT landscape. “When we spun as Resideo on October 29, 2018, we still had a lot of hard work ahead,” Mathews explains. “Everything across the business information technology portfolio—from the computers to the major ERP systems to the systems at our manufacturing and distribution centers had to be touched. It took us two years to do that, and COVID hit at the same time.”
At the time, he was going from a $40 billion company to a $4.5 billion company, and there was a lot of rethinking that needed to happen. Mathews built out the organization’s infrastructure, which comprises 275 sites, and all the major applications, and now oversees a budget of more than $80 million today.
“You have to make different choices to simplify and build something that is more fit for purpose,” he explains. “It demands start-up thinking and action but also requires the untangling, rearchitecture and decommission of significant process and technical debt. And all this while ensuring the business continues to run.”
The pandemic added another layer of complexity because he wasn’t sure things would scale seamlessly and work appropriately when people all began working from home. “We needed to get the whole business engaged and make sure the process leaders understood how things were going to change,” Mathews adds.
Overall, Mathews feels proud of what he and his team have accomplished at Resideo. With a new executive leadership team and a major focus on transformation and growth, Mathews and his team have been extremely active driving higher-order impactful change across the entire value chain.
“Bruce has been a superlatively collaborative partner with whom we have had the privilege of working since his Honeywell days,” says Patrick VanLandingham, client executive at NTT DATA. “He provided exceptional leadership during the spin out that formed Resideo and remains a strong leader and partner in our long-standing relationship.”
Major initiatives such as Credit and Collections and Accounts Payable transformation are helping to improve liquidity, while a renewed focus on integrated data-driven decisions across planning, profitability analytics, and operations management is helping to drive growth, margins, and better customer outcomes.
Another major investment has been in its touchless order and digital commerce infrastructure. Mathews and his team have enabled significant e-commerce growth by integrating front- and back-office systems to ensure they are scalable with appropriate technologies.
“Bruce is a forward-thinking, data-driven leader who focuses on the results and potential ROI of a project,” says Michael Pistone, enterprise account manager at Palo Alto Networks. “It’s been a pleasure to work with him and the Resideo team on transforming and modernizing their networks.”
Efficiency continues to be a key. His team is utilizing robotic process automation to connect and streamline processes, which frees up time to work on more value-added activities.
“We continue to architect and build for the future,” he says. “We are investing in contemporary cloud and SaaS technologies that will allow our business to scale seamlessly and securely in a cost-effective manner with speed.”
Mathews has enjoyed valuable life lessons from his time at Honeywell and Resideo. “It’s important to me to never forget where you came from,” he shares. “But as you progress, also don’t let your past define and limit you. Incredible things can be achieved with the right collaboration and an open mind . . . and of course with a very strong work and integrity ethic.”