A new breed of chief information officer (CIO) is emerging who will be more likely to move into the chief executive role, research has predicted.
The study, conducted by IT manager forum CIO Connect with executive search firm Spencer Stuart, predicts that in the next five years top CIOs will evolve into "business innovators", as the scale of their responsibilities and the scope of their role increases.
But IT executives will need more training during their careers and a better career-path if this is to take place.
Currently no chief executive in the FTSE 100 has an IT background. And not all technology professionals are geared up to the new responsibilities, John Handby, CIO Connect chief executive, admitted.
"This is not a complete picture of what's going on as a whole. Membership of CIO Connect tends to be people who have already made the transition that we talk about in the report. But for non-members, it's a very realistic proposition for the better ones," he said.
Handby, formerly IT director of Royal Mail, said more needs to be done at middle management level to prepare IT managers for the role of CIO.
"We need to do more training - not with entry-level qualifications but mid-career," he said.
"Turnaround champions need to be rounded individuals who understand the wider context of the business. Career paths have been ad hoc. There isn't really a credible body or institute that's looking after that."
And while CIOs must be business people first and foremost, Handby said the need for boards to have more involvement in and understanding of IT is key to success.
"IT needs to be seen as a basic discipline of the board. In some companies such as Tesco, the board understands how technology can improve relationships with customers and running of the store," he said.
"Other companies don't get it and they're the ones that are losing out in competitive terms."
The survey is based on 40 interviews of CIOs and other senior executives and a survey of the membership of CIO Connect.
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