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Chicago’s famous “bean” was a fitting punctuation mark for the panoramic view retailers took in at a bash honoring technology leaders during Retail Systems last month.

Looking down from the 80th floor of the Aon Center, guests got only a partial glimpse of the bean, a 110-ton stainless steel sculpture that sits at the foot of the building. Although the sculpture, called “Cloud Gate,” was unveiled last year, additional refinements were needed and that meant a return of the tarpaulin that concealed it from view.

In retail technology, the metaphor is clear: Just when you think you have the perfect system, more work is needed. With ever-changing technology, and business demands, there’s always more to do.

On May 25, WWD honored five technology leaders who have demonstrated leadership and creativity in retail technology. The 2005 WWDExecTech CIO/IT Leadership & Innovation Awards were presented to five outstanding chief information officers: Peter Burrows, senior vice president, management information systems and cio, Reebok International, Canton, Mass.; Colin Cobain, information technology director, Tesco plc, Cheshunt, England; Ron Ehlers, vice president, information services, Pacific Sunwear of California, Anaheim, Calif.; Harry Roberts, senior vice president, cio, Boscov’s Department Store, Reading, Pa., and Shawn Schwegman, senior vice president, technology, Overstock.com.

During the party, another set of awards was presented by Retail Systems Alert Group of Newton Upper Falls, Mass., which organized the Retail Systems show. The 2005 Retail Systems Achievement Awards went to U.K.-based Specsavers Optical Group, Guernsey, England; Piggly Wiggly Carolina Co., Charleston, S.C.; B&Q plc, the U.K. home improvement chain; and Modelo Continente Hipermercados, a hypermarket chain based in Matosinhos, Portugal.

Paul Singer, senior vice president and cio of Target Technology Services, Target, received the Career Achievement Award from the Retail Systems Alert Group.

This story first appeared in the June 15, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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