On average, CIOs leave companies every four years, often spurred by broad changes in corporate strategy or role. CIOs also exit because they can’t shake free the budget they require or they find their strategy de-emphasized. And sometimes CIOs leave because they don't mesh with the corporate culture, or fail to get their jobs done.
As businesses move more swiftly in the digital era, the CIO carousel is likely to spin faster for those who fail to execute digital transformations. “I have seen a fair amount of churn, but not necessarily more," says Chris Patrick, Global Head of Egon Zehnder's Technology Officers Practice. “The job is getting tougher, it's getting more complex, and it requires not only tech skills but business acumen and leadership capabilities.”
Translation: It’s never been a better or more challenging time to be a CIO. Here are seven reasons CIOs exit leadership roles — or get shown the door.
1. The challenges of a 2-in-1 role: Patrick says CIOs are increasingly asked to maintain internal IT and drive digital product and service innovation, putting many of them in a difficult position.
2. Misaligned expectations on the pace of change: Some CIOs find their weaknesses exposed against accelerated timelines, in which CEOs attuned to the rise of agile software development expect results in 6 to 8 weeks rather than 6 to 12 months.
3. Bureaucratic resistance to change: Sometimes lack of agility makes it difficult to usher in rapid change.
4. Strategic misalignment: Some CIOs also part ways with companies over misalignment on what a digital transformation means. Some view transformation as a play to connect with customers and generate revenue, while others view it as a way to cut costs and improve operational efficiencies.
5. Bait and switch: Sometimes CIOs are promised the opportunity to drive digital change, only to see it yanked away — a bait-and-switch tactic.
6. Stagnation: IT organization can stagnate with the same leadership, particularly if that leader has not groomed successors.
7. Job hopping — or a lack of follow through: Conversely, CIOs who only last 12 to 24 months don't do themselves any favors because it makes them seem like job hoppers who can't commit or get along with colleagues.
Full Story: 7 reasons CIOs quit (or lose their jobs) by Clint Boulton (08 February 2018).
Chris Patrick, Egon Zehnder, Dallas