How Do CIOs Become CEOs?

How Do CIOs Become CEOs?

Ron Babin (Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada) and Kenneth A. Grant (Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/JGIM.2019100101


The role of information systems and technologies in any modern organization has become increasingly important. Concepts such as digital transformation and disruptive technologies have become the strategic directions for new and established companies. The role of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) has been long established. This case-based research article examines how and when a CIO becomes the CEO. This is particularly relevant as organizations embrace technology-based strategies to compete, and in many cases, to survive.
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Literature Review

The literature regarding the CIO role and performance is broad and we draw on selective papers that guides this research towards the CIO promotion to CEO. Similarly, as Schnatterly and Johnson (2008) have pointed out, “…research in CEO succession has been extensive—including individual, board, and firm antecedents; succession planning; and consequences…” However, the literature on CIO progression to CEO is sparse, which provides a gap for this case-based research to address.

Regarding the role of the CIO, Hutter and Riedl (2017) present a compelling model derived from a meta-analysis of 98 papers that examined the CIO role. This research concludes with a model that suggests CIOs “are increasingly called upon to be effective in multiple roles”, which the authors identify as Business Thinker, Innovation Driver, Strategic Supporter, Integration Advisor, Relationship Manager and Technology Provider (p. 21, 22). Remenyi et al (2005) further point out that, “perhaps to a greater degree than other “C’ positions, it [the CIO position] has continued to be a role undergoing constant change and transformation”, demanding different skills at different times for survival and success. Further, in an early paper examining CIO/CEO relationships, Feeney et al (1992) found that, “…the ClOs in these successful relationships may have extensive IT backgrounds, but they are accepted into the top management team and are seen to contribute beyond their functional responsibilities…” (pp. 434-435).

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