Forbes just wrapped a series of columns and interviews exploring the new role of the "CIO-Plus." The idea is that Chief Information Officers (and those with the same general job but different titles) throughout the marketplace are taking on responsibilities in other areas, becoming Chief Innovation Officers, Heads of HR, Chief Supply Chain Officers, and Heads of Shared Services, etc.
This interests us at Morgan Samuels because as part of human capital solutions in our consulting practice, we often find that companies are seeking to effect a cultural change through hiring, when what they need is a strategic realignment. Our primary practice is retained executive search, so we are always more than happy to help you find a new C-level executive. If that's what you need. But often what a company needs is to rethink how their C-suite is structured. Giving your top talent more and different responsibilities is a great way to improve company performance, all while keeping your executives challenged and preparing them for succession with well-rounded experience.
These expanded roles have also been beneficial for CIOs, as the series notes that the position is becoming more of a stepping stone to CEO, with CIOs competing with the COOs and CFOs who are usually up for the head job.
Here's how Forbes describes the new path:
CIOs who have become COOs, CEOs, or who have taken on other wide-ranging responsibilities have typically spent some time in a business role within the company, even early in their career. This familiarizes them with the company’s customers, the profit and loss statements and the drivers of each, and simply builds their networks across the company. When they achieved the top position in IT, they have walked a mile in the shoes of other divisions of the company. They also are probably familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of the IT department as a user, which provides a strong degree of empathy in their perspective.
The gist is that you don't want to get caught up thinking in old paradigms. The business world is evolving too fast for that. You want executives with the right experience to help your company move forward, even as the ground moves under you, no matter what the title on the resume says.
We'll soon see how these tech savvy CEOs perform. At Morgan Samuels, we think they will do well. Diane Gilley, a Principal at Morgan Samuels, works a lot with CIO candidates and on a lot of CIO executive searches. She said, "Chief Information Officers have really transformed from being the internal IT key operator to being seen as one of the top participants and decision makers at the corporate table. Many of them now play a much broader role in partnering with different internal functions to really differentiate themselves out in the marketplace. It makes sense that CIOs are having different doors open at this time."
Wired Magazine reports a survey of CIOs which says most expect to roll out a few dozen mobile apps each in the next few years to keep up-to-date with employees and consumers and all the devices they carry. Any executive that can oversee that kind of rapid growth, juggling a score of projects, all while protecting networks and maintaining an efficient infrastructure, has proven his or her management mettle.
If you think you fit this mold, or would like to, submit your resume to become part of our confidential database of executive talent: