A Practical Approach for IT Governance

Is the CIO a Transient?

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According to Larry Bonfante in CIO insightsAt the lowest point, the average tenure of a CIO was approximately three years. Today, at what is arguably the high point, CIO tenure is still under five years. In the 1990s a lot of this was by choice as venture capitalists were throwing wads of money at anything with .com in the name and IT executives were in high demand and living large.

I publish a newsletter that reaches out to over 4000 plus CIOs.  Over the past year, around 800 CIOs have either lost their jobs, retired or changed their positions.  Using fuzzy logic, we get a sense that the CIO’s tenure is around the five years as suggested by Larry.

Can we label the CIO as a transient leader?

Let us compare the tenure of  a CIO with that of a CEO or CFO or CMO.  CEO’s tenure is around 9 years and a CFO’s is around 6 years.  The CMO’s tenure is around 4 years.  While the CIO’s tenure is considerably less than that of a CEO, it is quite comparable to that of a CFO or a CMO.  On this basis, it is hard to call a CIO a transient.

Diving deeper into Larry’s analysis, why is the CIO becoming more stable?  A shift from 3 years to 5 years is quite significant.  Is it because, the CIO has earned the seat at the table and enjoying the role?  Is it because the CIO is aging and  seeking stability? Please see my blog post on the Six Stages of a CIO. Or is the CIO just taking on roles outside of IT?  Please see the latest article in the CIO magazine Going Beyond IT?  Or is it that the other leaders are falling in love with the CIO and enticing the CIO to stay longer?  May be it is a combination of all of these and more, but it is heartening to see that the tenure of the CIO has jumped over 60%! And please, let us not call a CIO a transient!

Written by Subbu Murthy

October 11, 2015 at 1:42 pm

Posted in Analytics, Helping CIOs

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