CIO

Why CIOs Make Great Board Directors

CIOs are a fastest-growing addition to the boardroom, and rightfully so. Craig Stephenson and Nels Olson, in an article for Harvard Business Review, say that CIOs can help address hot issues such as using technologies to enhance operational efficiencies, improving cloud computing and digitization, and detecting risks and threats associated with information security. There are three tips to keep in mind for boards to incorporate a CIO director:

  1. Update your mindset about the role of technology on the board.
  2. Define the role as an interface between the board and the internal CIO.
  3. Look for hybrids and cast a wide net.

The CIO Advantage

Only 31 percent of Fortune 100 boards currently have a director who is a CIO. However, today where everything from home appliances to personal devices are smart and digitized, technology is a business driver rather than a cost center. As such, CEOs and boards need to determine how much technology matters to their business and surround themselves with CIOs who know how to improve a business through technology and provide a credible perspective on IT-related issues. A strategic CEO would often want a board member who has deep technical skills but business-savvy enough to make recommendations on technology issues.

A CIO director can also play a key role in educating other board members about the importance of technology, the current trends, and what the IT department can do for the business. He or she can act like a translator or a moderator, connecting and engaging the board and internal CIOs with properly adjusted language and awareness of differences. The hybrid combination of skills and experience that a CIO director brings is valuable as the board will be able to discuss and touch on subjects beyond their functional area. Stephenson and Olson write about the need for CIOs to be involved in the top management:

With many CIOs able to serve on only one external board, if any, with the consent of their CEO, demand should soon outstrip supply. And because technology is now of strategic importance, we are beginning to see boards create technology committees, further accelerating demand for CIO directors. Much like now-required audit and compensation committees, technology committees comprise directors with specific expertise, who meet as a group and then make recommendations to the board.

You can view the original article here: https://hbr.org/2017/03/why-cios-make-great-board-directors

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