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Monday, 25 February 2013 13:20

CIO Succession - Business Background Featured

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Just as interesting is the difference in degree of business background between insiders and outsiders. All of these CIOs are versatile executives, and many have experience in business roles outside the IT function. When we examined individual backgrounds, we found the preponderance of career experience for most CIOs has been in technology organizations. However, there are 13 whose backgrounds are primarily in other business functions—finance, engineering, general management, and others. All 13 were insiders, and, as noted earlier, nearly two-thirds report directly to the CEO/President. And all 13 are in companies over $10B in revenue.

Figure 14: Insider vs. Outsider – Business vs. IT Background

Insider vs. Outsider – Business vs. IT Background

An understandable pattern emerges. When looking outside for a CIO, companies want technology background in general and CIO experience in particular. When promoting familiar internal candidates, they are more comfortable with proven executives whose IT experience may be limited. Especially when companies want to inject greater business orientation in their IT organizations, they are likely to put in one of their own rather than hiring from the outside.

An interesting facet of business background is board membership. A dozen of the CIOs list membership on the boards of non-profits and associations, but only five serve on public company boards. So public board service is not yet a common experience or expectation, even though CIOs must work with the board regularly in many corporations. We are seeing an increasing trend in CIOs being invited to boards, but this is a nascent situation. Given that half of these CIOs are under 50, we would expect many of them to grow into board roles over time.

Read 343 times Last modified on Thursday, 02 July 2020 16:39
Dora Vell

Dora Vell is the Managing Partner of Vell Executive Search, a boutique executive search firm in Boston focused on recruiting technology executives and board members. Vell has successfully completed numerous board member and C-level executive searches, including CEOs, COOs, CIOs, and Vice Presidents - at both public and private companies.

Prior to founding the firm in 2005, Vell was a Partner at Heidrick & Struggles' Technology practice for seven years.  Before her career in executive search, she worked at IBM for 11 years, managing software engineering organizations of 100 people and software sales organizations with revenues of $150 million. She has also served as an executive assistant to the CEO of IBM Canada for one year.

Vell holds seven worldwide software patents. She has published several Business of Leadership reports on governance and leadership and has been quoted in numerous articles including 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 also has been a featured speaker on leadership at numerous conferences and at Columbia University's MBA program.

Vell is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), the Boston CEO Roundtable. She has served on the boards of Framingham State, Entrepreneur's Organization, Goodwill, Mary Centre for developmentally handicapped adults,, and RBC Capital Partners.

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

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