Companies on the hunt for a new CIO have a laundry list of must-have traits. CIOs need to be savvy leaders with business acumen and strategy running through their core. They cannot abandon the technology roots which propelled them to the executive level, with the skills required to translate external pressures to business stakeholders. CIOs have to speak for the future of digital and help identify new revenue streams. There's also, of course, the ubiquitous directive to do more with less as budgets tighten and the economic impacts of the pandemic are felt.
The recent news of Ford CIO's plan to retire and with a successor not yet named highlights the complexity of the CIO search and all that a company looks for in an executive. The CIO role at Ford is no different than it is at any other Fortune 50 company, saidChris Patrick, global head of Egon Zehnder's Technology Officers Practices. "It's complex, it's global," Patrick said. "The CIO of the past is going to be very different than the CIO of the future for Ford." The size of the company is significant, but also the overlaying dynamics of the automotive industry, which is relying on technology to drive innovation and enable strategy. Previous CIOs at Ford would have focused on operational efficiency, according to Patrick. All of these companies are going through massive organizational and technology transformation; those back-office CIOs find themselves in the front, helping to shape and drive strategy. But a CIO coming into a company like Ford doesn't require familiarity with the industry. An outside perspective can prove valuable as a company looks to shape operations. Industry experience can also help the executive think through business problems, and augment problems technology can help solve.
Full story: Naomi Eide: Expectations of the CIO are changing — more business, less technology, in CIO Dive (13 October 2020).