It's Time to Meet Your Next CIO


A recent survey found that few companies have CIO succession plans in place. The obvious question: why not? Last month, CDW released a poll that found that less than four in 10 businesses actually plan ahead in picking their next IT chief.

I spoke last week with new CIO Insight contributor Gary Perman, who's digging deeper into the issue. Following up on his recent piece on the importance of grooming future IT execs, Perman has been chatting with sources about why companies don't use formal succession plans, and what's he found so far has been striking.

Office politics tend to get in the way. The minute a company announces a succession plan, various frontrunners start competing for the top job. That can create workplace disruption and a drop in morale.

Shortsightedness is also a problem. CEO succession planning has grown in prominence in recent years, and many firms also think ahead to filling other C-level roles. But the CDW survey shows that a similar ethic hasn't been extended to the CIO position.

Then there's the concern over attrition. If a company publicly favors one internal candidate over others, then those left behind will likely see it as a snub and pursue greener pastures. In a time where most worry about a shortage of top-level IT talent, losing experienced pros puts firms at a disadvantage.

Given those issues, I'm not that surprised that so few have succession programs in place. But that doesn't mean ignoring it is the right move.

We'll get into some other concerns soon. In the meantime, tell us: does your company have a CIO succession plan in place? If so, what are its pros and cons?