Paul Onnen


Senior Technology Executive (CTO/CIO) with over 23 years of experience directing, developing, and executing innovative enterprise and web-based products/services for leading organizations including Google, Expedia, WebMD,, and Intel. Recognized expertise in traditional software development functions, as well as emerging Internet technologies and computer privacy/security issues. Able to bring world-class strategic leadership to a company’s global technology operations and achieve highly challenging business and profitability objectives.

  • Named CTO of the Year in the Retail Sector by InfoWorld, in addition to acknowledgement as one of the Top 25 Most Influential CTOs in the country by CTO Magazine.

  • Led effort to re-architect and successfully launch a new version of the platform, the largest such project in the company’s history.

  • Directed successful full-scale redesign and launch of’s e-commerce site and B2B system, resulting in numerous awards and record sales revenues.

  • Capable of building and overseeing leading-edge research and development functions, including off-shore development centers.

  • Extensive network of contacts within the high technology and VC communities, combined with experience leading mergers, acquisitions, strategic alliances, and capital formation initiatives.

  • Superior communication skills including professional training in public speaking and media relations.

  • Holder of seven technology patents and five additional patent applications.

Work History

Work History
Jan 2008 - May 2009

Director of Engineering

Google, Inc.

Oversee all Google infrastructure and web search infrastructure projects in Europe. Own end-to-end availability and performance of the infrastructure underpinning most of Google's most visible services and properties.

Hired by Google's VP of Engineering in Europe to manage the infrastructure and web search infrastructure teams in Zurich, which is responsible for several large scale, high availability global and regional initiatives. Recruited, hired, and lead a team of approximately 85 very-bright engineers from multiple countries. Provide hands-on leadership of projects including prioritization and scheduling, system architecture, and interface with potential and existing customers as well as global Focus Area Leads at Google headquarters. Responsible for technical project leadership, team motivation, and ensuring a great, 100% reliable experience for Google users around the globe while simultaneously enabling a rapid pace of innovation and change in these services. Projects include:

  • Distributed job scheduling and configuration language (Borg)
  • Tape backup for Google's largest web properties, including Gmail
  • Global bandwidth management/enforcement
  • Structured search, including Google Base
  • Google Sitemaps
  • Index selection for European regional index
  • Indexing pipeline diagnostics

Named as European Focus Area Coordinator for all infrastructure and web search infrastructure projects EMEA-wide (present in five engineering offices). Led project transitions during defragmentation process. Kicked off and lead European security and privacy initiatives.

May 2005 - Sep 2007

Executive Vice President Technology/CTO

Expedia, Inc.

CTO for Expedia, Inc, the world’s largest on-line travel agency (OLTA). In charge of all technology and IT operations for all Expedia properties, including Expedia.*,,, NewTrade, and eLong.

Reporting directly to the CEO, provided strategic leadership to 1000 engineering and IT employees in five locations globally. Developed company-wide technology vision, strategic roadmap, and goal alignment with Expedia businesses. Responsibilities also included platform and IT strategy, architecture, and formation of a PMO. Corporate officer, served on corporate executive committee. Provided due diligence support for major acquisitions. Managed $220M technology budget. Chaired patent review committee.

Executive Leadership
  • Defined, developed and implemented all software deliverables for all platforms and LOB that met the company’s strategic objectives

  • Created corporate technology communication plan including Town Hall meetings, newsletters, emails, and small group meetings

  • Led and managed a team of 12 SVPs and VPs in a five-tier organization of 1000 professionals

  • Set guidelines and standards for the delivery of technology, measured against these standards and drove improvements in efficiency and quality

Financial Management
  • Developed and managed $220M engineering and IT budget for all technology teams

  • Negotiated, approved and managed all technology related contracts

  • Guided all major investments in people, systems, tools, and training programs

Strategic Alignment
  • Served as the evangelist for Expedia’s technology, helping people understand the big picture perspective

  • Led and developed synergy between the technology team and business owners

  • Created and managed corporate-wide PMO

  • Kept abreast of current and future trends in enterprise and web technologies that aligned with the strategic objectives of the company

Human Resource Management
  • Guided, mentored and developed executives, managers, and staff

  • Launched Global Sourcing Initiative. Ramped up to over 100 technology offshore resources in less than one year

  • Launched technology employee recognition program, including peer-nominated achievement awards

  • Tracked, measured and improved performance for all executive staff. Instituted quarterly MBO process

  • Provided guidance, training and mentoring for prioritizing workload and resource utilization

  • Working with the HR Team, created recruiting, training and development programs consistent with internal best practices

May 2004 - May 2005

Director, Advisory Services

Led high-level strategic consulting engagements with Cisco’s top 100 worldwide accounts.

Provided leadership to newly formed team of 45 senior professional service consultants providing strategic technology, business, and risk management services to largest Cisco accounts worldwide. Recent customers include Microsoft, Ford, Home Depot, Caterpillar, Deutsche Bank, and Union Bank of California.

Functioned as a team leader, problem solver, project manager, and technical subject matter expert in large, complex “C” level engagements. Provided thought leadership in business governance, business process re-engineering, extensible architectures, and IT infrastructure services including network, data center, security, and mobility. Developed professional services offerings portfolio, best practices, and intellectual capital while working with other Cisco business units and practice areas. Drove revenues through business development, repeat business, and sales pull-through. Met revenue, utilization, and realization goals while maintaining 100% customer satisfaction and service delivery quality.

Feb 2003 - May 2004

Senior Vice President/CTO

WebMD Health

Recruited at the executive level to create and implement a new technology strategy for the world’s largest consumer and physician health portals.

Reported to the CEO of the online division of WebMD, a $700MM publicly traded company, with responsibility for designing/architecting all core applications including a new content management system, CRM system, and data warehouse. Led all software development, data center, and operations support and maintenance. Provided leadership guidance for HIPAA security and privacy compliance. Quickly came up to speed on complex technology environment (Microsoft and UNIX) inherited from over 30 corporate acquisitions. Instituted production change management and quality processes and controls. Assessed technology team of 210 engineers in three locations, quickly made appropriate staffing changes, and reorganized technology team for increased efficiency.

  • Accountable for all strategic/tactical technology decisions related to the WebMD Health portal, which currently supports over 20 million unique visitors per month.

  • Architected and led development of new direct-to-consumer e-commerce transaction engine.

  • Within two months, achieved critical goal of increasing the availability of the consumer portal to 100% from the prior year’s average of 90%

  • Provided due diligence on three health technology corporate acquisitions.

  • Architected and presented to executive management team a long-term technology strategy providing better disaster recovery, lower costs, and consolidated platforms. This proposal saves over $3MM per year in site maintenance costs and requires 60% fewer operations personnel.

Dec 1999 - Feb 2002

Executive Vice President/Chief Technology & Information Officer

Oversaw all technological development and execution of, the leading online retailer of quality fashion apparel, as well as, the “World’s Biggest Shoe Store.

Directed and administered all stages of technological development for two scalable and highly trafficked sites, from pre-conception to launch and ongoing updates. Designed, developed, and implemented award-winning re-launch of site, resulting in record $1MM in single-day sales, up from less than $1MM in sales per entire year. Developed EDI- and XML-based backend, automating inventory updates, orders, and shipment confirmations. Served as chief architect for new product development, including Inventory Management System. Provided production support, upgrades, and maintenance of all legacy systems at headquarters, call center, and fulfillment center. Systems include CRM, ERP, WMS, and custom systems on IBM AS/400, HP3000, Windows, and Unix platforms.

Supervised in-house development team of over 100 full-time personnel and contractors. Provided biannual performance and salary reviews. Reorganized IT structure around Microsoft Solution Framework (MSF), and created and managed IT Steering Council to prioritize workflow based on ROI analysis. Reviewed and approved all new technology for web and office use. Authored annual departmental strategic objectives, and maintained IT and Capital Expenditure budgets. Served as sole technologist on executive committee. Provided monthly updates to board of directors. Member of Nordstrom Enterprise Security Council and corporate CIO summit.

  • InfoWorld Award: CTO of the Year in the Retail Sector.

  • CTO Magazine award: Top 25 Most Influential CTOs.

  • Launched new call center in under 1 month and third-party fulfillment center in under 3 months.

  • Achieved 99.6% site availability after re-launch of completely rewritten web site.

  • ranked #2 apparel site, AC Nielsen Research, 1/2002.

  • ranked #1 apparel site, Yahoo! Internet Life, 12/2000.

  • ranked #2 Apparel Site on the Internet, Gomez Advisors, Q3/2000.

  • ranked #1 Footwear Site on the Internet, Gomez Advisors, Q1/2001.

  • Created B2B system linking web commerce engine with over 50 remote vendors, enabling exponential increase in product offering.

  • Attended professional media training. Approved as media spokesperson for and frequently quoted in industry trade magazines. Frequent conference speaker.

1998 - Dec 1999

President/Chief Technology Officer

Punch Networks, Inc.

Recruited to manage all corporate IS functions for this startup software firm developing secure Internet-based file collaboration products and services.

Conceptualized and implemented complete reorganization of primary product line, from packaged software applications to web-based ASP. Designed and developed secure, browser-based software. Authored business plans, reports, and patent applications. Purchased, installed, configured and tested all production hardware. Assembled and managed a qualified staff of 45. Managed human resources, payroll, and salary and performance reviews. Authored monthly board reports, and participated in business development and sales presentations with potential customers and partners.

  • Patent Application: “Method and System for Providing Remote Access to the Facilities of a Server Computer,” filed 8/2002.

  • Created new system, from conception to production, in less than 9 months.

  • Directed and successfully coordinated physical move of corporate headquarters.

  • Participated in two rounds of capital fundraising.

1996 - 1998

Vice President of Research and Development

J. River, Inc.

Managed all research, new and existing product development, quality assurance, and technical support for J. River, Inc., a provider of secure Internet content distribution software.

Released two new versions of industry-leading terminal emulation package before playing instrumental role in expanding corporate vision to expand product offering. Served as lead architect on development of all new security products including Internet firewall application, network monitoring and troubleshooting utilities, and Music Exchange secure content distribution system ( Provided system architecture, design, and programming for content distribution system. Hired and supervised developers, orchestrated relocation of office, and managed multi-million dollar budget.

  • Patent Application: “Method and System for Storing Multiple Media Tracks in a Single, Multiply Encrypted Computer File,” filed 1/2002.

  • Patent Application: “Digital Tokens and System and Method Related to Digital Tokens,” filed 1/2002.

  • Patent Application: “Method and System for Licensing Digital Works,” filed 1/2002.

  • Patent Application: “Licensed Digital Material Distribution System and Method,” filed 5/2002.

  • Created Quality Assurance group, instituting policies, testing procedures and methodologies.

  • Produced and presented thorough updates for monthly board meetings.

1993 - 1996

Staff Software Architect

Designed new reference security platform for end-to-end data security using digital signatures and certificates. Prototyped new e-commerce models and presented to upper management. Authored patent applications. Managed 7 developers and represented company at security conferences.

  • Patented: “Digital Certificates Containing Multimedia Data Extensions,” granted 12/1995.

  • Patented: “Object-Based Digital Signatures,” granted 2/1997.

  • CDSA architecture selected as Industry Standard Security Platform by Open Group.

1996 - 1996

Director of Data Security Architecture

Datakey, Inc.

Designed large-scale object-oriented software/hardware security product for Internet security applications, in Unix and Windows NT environments. Authored high-level system specifications. Maintained project budget and development schedules. Prepared and presented status updates to board members and executive management. Developed strategic partnerships with technology firms offering complementary products. Recruited and supervised 5 cohesive development teams.

  • Provided software expertise to historically hardware-oriented company.

  • Served as chief liaison with Siemens smartcard technology team.

  • Instituted testing procedures, software development guidelines, and ISO 9000 effort.

1990 - 1993


SuperGuide, Inc.

Performed all software and firmware development for world’s first on-screen TV programming guide. Solely created digital logic design and architecture, development, and launch of satellite uplink process, enabling data to be downloaded, formatted, compressed, encrypted, and uplinked to satellite, downloaded to set-top box, and displayed on TV via custom remote, for transparent user experience.

1987 - 1990

Research Computer Scientist

Played key role in development of FREEDOMNET system, providing remote file and device access and program execution at system call level, connecting machines to centralized UNIX environment. Provided research and development for load balancing, fault-tolerant file replication, and network security. Authored kernel modifications and provided RPC and IPC implementations.

1986 - 1987

Member of Technical Stafff

AT&T Information Systems Laboratories

Designed and administered fault-tolerant distributed database system, supporting transaction processing in distributed telephone switching system. Developed ongoing features and enhancements, including transaction locking, logging and deadlock detection, distributed transactions with crash-recovery and associated-consistency protocols, as well as file-naming processes.