by Meridith Levinson

A Strong Job Market For Cios

Oct 01, 20052 mins

The average tenure of a CIO in any single job is about five years, according to CIO research. So Joseph Eckroth was right on schedule when he left Mattel over the summer for a new job as senior vice president and CIO of New Century Financial, a real estate investment trust based in Irvine, Calif.

During the five yearsEckroth worked for Mattel, he was credited with using IT to boost the toy-maker’s efficiency and slash costs companywide (although the company is still struggling, its sales were up in the last quarter). He’s among several CIOs who are benefiting from a loosening job market.

Patricia Morrison, who had been CIO with Office Depot for close to three and a half years, decided to leave when a new CEO, Steve Odland, came on board last spring. Unlike the many CIOs who, during the downturn, had to wait 12 to 18 months before finding a new job, Morrison was snatched up by Motorola within four months.

And then there’s Frank Hood. In May he left his post as CIO of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts—which is mired in an accounting scandal—to take a job with Quiznos, a rapidly expanding chain of sandwich shops based in Denver.

Eric Sigurdson, who leads the information officers practice of executive recruiting firm Russell Reynolds Associates, has been getting more business. “We’ve seen the volume of search activities, the number of assignments we take on and the billing associated with recruiting in our information officers practice increase dramatically this year and last year,” he says. That’s good news for CIOs looking to extricate themselves from struggling companies or take the next step in their careers.

The trend should help Kathy Lane, the CIO of Gillette, once her company merges with Procter & Gamble and the requisite integration work is complete. At press time, according to P&G, her post-merger role hadn’t been completely defined. In general, P&G’s global business units (of which Gillette will be one after the merger) don’t have their own CIOs. One thing that is certain is that Lane has valuable experience to market anytime she decides to, as they say, pursue other opportunities.