Late last year, Government CIO John Suffolk resigned. So far, no replacement for him has been appointed. At least one pundit has put their money on former Government CIO and now Efficiency and Reform Group exec Ian Watmore taking up the IT cudgels, in informal conversation.
Last June, Tesco's group IT director Philip Clarke was named CEO, to replace 14-year incumbent Sir Terry Leahy. So far, no successor for Clarke has been announced and it's not surprising the grocer should be in no hurry, with a man so knowledgeable in IT at the helm.
These are two of the most high profile IT leader departures that have not been replaced, but are by no means the only ones over the last twelve months. This begs the question whether the role of CIO has had its day and, as IT within the corporate environment becomes more utility, the position will be absorbed by other roles.
Speakers and attendees gave their views on the future of the role at last year's CIO Summit. For one thing, the role of CIO can be a victim of its own success, they said. Even highly successful CIOs can find themselves no longer needed, as organisations move from a period of change (where the CIO is a linchpin), to a stage of stability.
See the interviews below:
The continuing alignment of IT with the business, along with the transformation of IT as a utility, mean the technology could be controlled by business leads.
Certainly, some CIOs see the function splitting into business-lead initiatives driven by non-IT leaders and pure lights-on functions headed up by a more operational IT director or CTO role.
This gives the opportunity for more business-aligned IT leaders to move up, out of the IT department and into roles such as COO or even CEO. Clarke is surely a shining example of this.
There is also the realisation that some CIOs just don't make the grade. The critical requirements for the job are a passion for IT and a passion for the business, in equal measure, but they are not always in evidence, according to some of the interviewees.
Featured in this interview are:
- David Jack: CIO thetrainline.com
- Stuart Birrell: CIO Gatwick Airport
- Duncan Scott: CIO Control Risks
- Matt Ballantine: Head of IT Imagination
- David Wilde: CIO Westminster City Council
- Paul Coby: CIO BA
- Clifford Burroughs: European IS director United Biscuits
- Jora Gill: CTO International Systems Standard & Poors