SJI names Barbara Romano as 1st woman CIO as Leonard Brinson announces retirement

Barbara Romano on Tuesday was named chief information officer at South Jersey Industries, replacing Leonard Brinson Jr., who is retiring at the end of the month.

Romano, who previously served as SJI’s vice present for technology and operations, becomes the first woman to take on the CIO role at the utility holding company that provides natural gas to more than 725,000 customers in New Jersey.

“I am both honored and excited to break through barriers and pave the way for more women in leadership roles,” Romano said. “My goal is not only to navigate the currents of information technology, but to empower our teams, foster collaboration and illuminate a brighter, more connected future for our company and the communities we serve.”

Romano joined SJI in 2015 and has held multiple roles with increasing responsibly and most recently served as vice president of technology & operations. In her new role, Romano will provide strategic guidance, leadership and direct oversight at the corporate level for all technology and business information system initiatives for SJI and its subsidiaries.

Romano will also be responsible for advancing and sustaining the corporate infrastructure and network for new technology initiatives, ensuring the performance, integrity and security of SJI’s technology platforms.

“I am delighted that Barb will be taking on the crucial role of CIO for SJI,” SJI CEO and President Michael Renna said. “Her results-focused mindset and energetic leadership have consistently driven success across various sectors, demonstrating a deep understanding of technology’s pivotal role in achieving our business, technology and financial objectives.”

Before joining SJI, Romano held various positions across multiple verticals, including global supply chain manager at Case New Holland, development manager at QVC Inc. and as a principal consultant at the WGroup, providing strategy, management and execution services to Fortune 500 companies.

Brinson retires from SJI as SVP & CIO after nearly seven years with the utility. He joined in 2017 as vice president and SJI’s first chief information officer in 2017, and was appointed senior vice president and CIO in 2021.

Renna said Brinson will be remembered as an IT legend at SJI who had a multifaceted impact on the company, employees and the community.