Strategic CIO // Executive Insights & Innovation
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9/4/2007
04:54 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
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Are CIOs Disappearing? Employer Web Sites Aren't Telling

An informal and *very* unscientific search of the websites for a dozen global corporations -- household names all -- reveals that seven out of those 12 don't list their CIOs among their executive teams. Why is this so, and what does it mean?

An informal and *very* unscientific search of the websites for a dozen global corporations -- household names all -- reveals that seven out of those 12 don't list their CIOs among their executive teams. Why is this so, and what does it mean?InformationWeek and this author take back seats to no one in our admiration for the business impact a great CIO can have on a company's profits, revenue, customer loyalty, security, and ability to innovate. So I thought it would be interesting to see how the public websites of a dozen companies from various industries describe the roles and responsibilities of their CIOs. I wanted to see how these companies talked about the impact of business technology, led by the CIO, in everything from product design to manufacturing to customer service and marketing. My expectation was that most companies would aspire to something like this partial description on the FedEx site for what EVP and CIO Rob Carter does: "He is a member of the five-person Executive Committee, which plans and executes the corporation's strategic business activities. Carter is responsible for setting technology direction, as well as the corporation's key applications and technology infrastructure."

Problem is, my guess was as wrong as John Wayne in a tutu.

Go to the sites for CocaCola, eBay, Genetech, Goldman Sachs, Google, Walgreens, and Yahoo and just try to find a listing for that company's CIO. CocaCola listed 15 execs, but no CIO; Google showcased 45 execs, but no CIO; Goldman Sachs 10; eBay 11; Walgreens 16; Yahoo 20; and Genentech 7 -- and not a single CIO among them. Conversely, it was easy to find the CIO on the sites of General Electric, United Airlines, Eli Lilly, and John Deere, and it proved to be possible -- but certainly not easy -- to do so at the Nike site.

Maybe this is all coincidence, and I just happened to pick the only 7 companies in the Fortune 1000 that don't showcase their CIOs and their challenges and their strategic roles -- but I doubt it. Maybe those companies keep their CIOs under wraps on their sites for fear that some headhunter will come trolling through a site and steal the prized executive away -- but I doubt that too.

So let's put this into multiple-choice format: 7 out of 12 company websites do not list the company's CIO because:

(a) those companies don't have computers,

(b) those companies don't have CIOs,

(c) those companies have CIOs but don't consider them important enough to include in executive overviews,

(d) the traditional CIO role is being deconstructed and those responsibilities are being spread around to others,

(e) some other reason.

Let us know what you think -- my colleague John Soat, the top blog dog on CIOs Uncensored, will pay handsomely for all thoughtful replies.

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