Tuesday, 04 June 2013 16:03

Fortune 500 CIO Appts. – Promoted or Hired Externally?

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We find differences between insider CIOs and those who join the company to assume the role. 56% of the CIOs were insiders, 44% newly joined. Note that we group with the insider CIOs two executives who made lateral moves into the role from running business units, as well as a CFO who assumed the CIO responsibility when the CIO role was eliminated.

Figure 9: Insider vs. Outsider by Gender

Insider vs. Outsider by Gender

Insider CIOs are overall a little younger than outsiders, and insider CIOs hold more advanced degrees, including MBAs. Strikingly, 70% of the female CIOs were insiders; only 30% joined. Among the males, 52% were outsiders, and 48% were insiders. This difference likely reflects the fact that women tend to be less inclined to job hop, even for a promotion. It could also be that fewer women are selected, even when they do chose to participate in an external selection process.

Larger companies are apt to promote from within. They have more staff to choose from and more developmental opportunities to offer, thus more inside candidates. As mentioned, there are no differences to speak of in the reporting structure for insiders vs. outsiders.

Figure 10: Insider vs. Outsider by Company Size

Insider vs. Outsider by Company Size

The insiders show an interesting distribution of tenures with their companies. There are three pronounced groupings at 0-5 years, 11-15, and over 20. The third represents the promotion of executives who have worked their way up through the ranks, which is common among larger companies. The middle group contains high-potential executives who have proven their capability and are ready for the next step. The short-tenure group contains some executives recruited from outside to be mentored, groomed and proven before advancing to the CIO role. More than half of these executives have tenures of less than two years, so they have much in common with the outsider CIOs. Hiring a CIO understudy makes sense when the new CIO is making a big step up; highly experienced CIOs would typically not be interested in the arrangement.

Figure 11: Years of Tenure of Insider CIOs


Click here to read the full report on Fortune 500 CIO Succession.

Read 19934 times Last modified on Monday, 08 March 2021 17:28
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, garage.ca, 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.

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  • 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
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