CA Technologies (NASDAQ:CA) today announced that a new global report, ‘The Future Role of the CIO 2011; Becoming the Boss’ has uncovered hungry CIOs wanting to advance their careers from technology to business leadership. The report, which includes global research of 685 CIOs reveals that 53% feel ideally positioned to move to the CEO role.

“Today technology is at the heart of business strategy for many organisations and is no longer seen as a function of the business, but rather a principal driver for companies in gaining competitive advantage. The modern CIO is an experienced professional with an eye for the bigger picture; 31% have previously held non-technical senior roles – they just happen to have an aptitude for applying technology,” commented Jacob Lamm, Executive Vice President Strategy and Corporate Development, CA Technologies.

Just under half (42%) of CIOs say that they have the necessary skills to migrate to the CEO role making them an able and motivated candidate. However, CIOs also think that other job roles have greater experience of the skills required to become CEO, this is corroborated by the research which has uncovered that of today’s current CEOs, 29% have risen from the Chief Financial Officer position, 23% were previously Chief Operating Officers, compared to the 4%* of CEOs who have risen from the CIO position. This suggests that the CIO is being overlooked by CEOs and the board in succession planning.

“Finding a suitable successor is a critical component of the Chief Executive’s role in many businesses. The traditional way that companies have groomed C-level executives however is overdue for a refresh. The research shows that progression from COO and CFO are the most common routes to the top, but the research also reveals that modern CIOs are not only a contender for the role, but also a serious candidate with unique advantages over their peers,” commented Sarah Greensmith, Managing Director, IT at Hudson the executive search specialists.
When asked why relatively few CIOs had successfully made the transition to the CEO role, 58% CIOs stated that their role is typically viewed as technical, and 53% said it is viewed as a role which runs a business support function rather than a core business area. 16% of CIOs also believe there is prejudice within their organisation against CIO progression.

One in four CIOs stated that their board was ‘digitally illiterate’ and did not understand the impact of new and emerging technologies and a further 39% of CIOs said that the board didn’t understand the value that IT brings to the business. CIOs report these oversights as the cause of lack of responsiveness to the market (45%), missed business opportunities (40%) and slower time to market (38%).

“Five or six years ago, many businesses introduced the CIO job title with the idea that it was about maintaining the technical platform. However, the CIO role should be seen as not only leading the technology side of the business, but adding value and creating cost efficiencies, bringing the role to life by making the board digitally literate and helping them understand how technology can help from a business perspective,” Greensmith continued.

The business impact was recognised; according to 45% of CIOs the board’s failure to understand and recognise the contribution that technology and the CIO makes to the business – are concerned that the company may not appear to be the market leader. The external effect of this perception could have a profound impact on the success of a business and its ability to deliver shareholder value.

Joe Peppard, Professor of Information Systems, Cranfield School of Management said, “CEOs and the board need to embrace the knowledge and experience of their CIO rather than pigeon-hole them with pre-supposed opinions. Boardrooms need diversity, and a strategic understanding of technology can no longer be under-represented in any development of sound business strategy including succession planning for the CEO role.”