CIOs will guide firms through recession

Businesses are turning to their chief information officers for help during the recession, according to a new report.

In a survey of 100 CIOs by IT leader group CIO Connect some 62 percent said the management board was looking to them to help their companies adapt processes and technology. But 43 percent still faced "unrealistic" expectations from the board.

Eight out of 10 CIOs sit on their companies' executive or operating committees, but only one in five have a seat on the board. Over half felt they were in a strong position to build a deep knowledge of their firms' strategy and business priorities.

When CIOs talked to other executives, 55 percent said they spoke on strategy, another 54 percent discussed transformational change, and 39 percent talked about business profitability and ongoing projects.

CIOs generally have a broad, cross-sector background, the survey showed. Some 80 percent had moved between areas such as financial services to media, oil to legal, entertainment to utilities, and catering to distribution.

Nick Kirkland, chief executive at CIO Connect, said the role of the CIO was even more important during the tough conditions: "We are seeing CIOs emerging to take a leadership role in driving business change within their organisations."