Monday, 25 February 2013 12:10

CIO Succession - First Time vs. Experienced

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36 of the 63 CIOs (57%) have prior CIO experience at the divisional or corporate level. There is little difference by gender or age or company size in the percentage that have experience, and the only difference in education is that first-time CIOs tend to be more educated, including as MBA holders.

Figure 12: First Time vs. Experienced

First Time vs. Experienced

A strong pattern emerges when we look at CIO experience and source together. 85% of the CIOs joining from outside (24 of 28) have prior experience in the role, while only 34% of the insiders (12 of 35) have been in the role before, either as a divisional CIO or with an earlier employer. The other way to look at it: among first-time CIOs, 85% are insiders. That’s a real contrast, but not at all surprising. Keep in mind that many companies’ promotion paths may not include divisional CIO roles, and that companies look for more experience in less familiar outside candidates. When one promotes from within, the person is a known entity and presumably fits and embodies the culture. If the person comes from another company, prior experience in the role mitigates risk.

Figure 13: First Time vs. Experienced - Insider vs. Outsider

First Time vs. Experienced - Insider vs. Outsider

Read 442 times Last modified on Thursday, 02 July 2020 16:04
Dora Vell

Managing Partner

Dora Vell is the CEO of Vell Executive Search, a boutique executive search firm in Boston that recruits technology executives and board members for companies ranging from promising tech startups to Fortune 100 companies. Throughout her 22-year career in executive search, she has successfully completed hundreds of assignments, placing board members, CEOs, COOs, CIOs, technology officers, vice presidents and many other C-level executives. Vell’s clients span both private and public companies and her work has included searches in markets large and small across the U.S. and Canada.

Prior to founding Vell Executive Search in 2005, she was a partner at the executive search consulting firm Heidrick & Struggles for seven years. She started in the Technology Practice in the Toronto office, became the firm’s Technology Practice leader for Canada, and then joined the firm’s Boston office.

Before her career in executive search, Vell worked for 11 years at IBM Canada in software-related roles of increasing responsibility. She started as a software engineer, managed a software engineering team of 100, and then led software sales for IBM Canada. She holds seven worldwide software patents. This deep industry understanding has helped Vell Executive Search become a recognized leader in finding senior executive and board talent for software and SaaS companies.

Vell is a recognized industry thought leader who has published several reports on governance and leadership topics. She has been frequently quoted as an expert on executive and board leadership by outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Business Week, Fortune, Agenda Week, MSNBC, Mass High Tech, The OPUS for the World Economic Forum, Boston Business Journal, The Globe & Mail, CIO Magazine, and IEEE. She has been a featured speaker on leadership at numerous conferences and at Columbia University's MBA program.

Vell has been a Fellow of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) and the Boston CEO Roundtable. She has served on the boards of Framingham State University, Entrepreneur's Organization, Goodwill, Mary Centre for Developmentally Handicapped Adults,, and RBC Capital Partners.

The trilingual daughter of a diplomat, Vell grew up in Canada, Greece, France, Switzerland and China. Her unique multicultural and international perspective, experiences as a woman in the male-dominated software field, and insights as a dual Canadian and U.S. citizen inform all her work for clients.

Vell received an MBA from the University of Toronto, a master’s in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo, and a bachelor’s in Computer Science from Carleton University.  She has also completed the MIT Entrepreneurial Master’s program.

Areas of Practice:

  • C-Level Technology Executives
  • CEOs, CROs, Heads of Sales, Heads of Marketing, Chief Product Officers
  • Technology Officers: CTOs, CIOs, Heads of Engineering, CISOs, Chief Data Officers
  • Board Directors
  • Diversity Executives and Board Directors
  • Canadian Executives and Board Directors


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