CIO Turnover: An Uptick Or A Trend? - InformationWeek

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IT Leadership // CIO Insights & Innovation
Commentary
2/13/2008
10:45 AM
John Soat
John Soat
Commentary
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CIO Turnover: An Uptick Or A Trend?

Know of any openings for experienced, hard-working, forward-thinking CIOs? Because I know of a few who are looking for work.

Know of any openings for experienced, hard-working, forward-thinking CIOs? Because I know of a few who are looking for work.Within the last several weeks I've received e-mails from three CIOs who had recently lost their jobs. One said that the projects he had been leading "came successfully to conclusion and there was not a place for me to move into that I was interested in." Another said the CEO he was working for had been "transitioned" and that he became "one of the casualties ... as the new CEO builds his new team." The third said that his philosophy as a CIO had always been to "work himself out of a job," and that recently he had succeeded: "IT operations and engineering have been optimized to the point where high-quality results can be sustained without me -- and at dramatically lower costs."

While one said his severance package was sufficient so that he wasn't under a great deal of pressure, two said they were actively seeking new positions and looking for leads. So if you know of any open positions or emerging opportunities, please e-mail me ([email protected]) and I'll pass along the information.

My question is this: Is this a layoff blip, or a rush to CIO turnover? I'm not sure, but there's a saying in the media business that may apply here: Three's a trend.

I'm intrigued by the gentleman's reference to working himself out of a job. Given current trends in technology, such as end-user empowerment and the increasing familiarity with IT by business unit executives due to the integral part technology plays in almost every business process and project, it's a very real possibility that CIOs are working themselves out of their jobs -- at least the jobs they used to have overseeing the IT infrastructure. Recently, the long-time CIO of Saks retired, and the company indicated it would not immediately replace the position. Now, that may or may not be because IT operations and engineering had been optimized to the point where high-quality results can be sustained without a CIO ... but it's interesting to note.

As has been pointed out in this blog and elsewhere, the average tenure of a CIO has never been long. And while studies indicate it may be increasing -- a survey last year by the Society for Information Management reported that the average tenure of CIOs had increased to 4.1 years from 3.6 years in 2006 -- that doesn't mean there aren't forces aligning that may change the nature, and the viability, of the CIO position.

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