IT executives who left startups after the Internet bubble burst in 2001 had a tough time finding new positions. It wasn’t just the anemic job market: The widespread perception among traditional companies was that candidates from dotcoms were undisciplined managers, profligate spenders and senseless risk-takers.
Six years later, though, a stint with a startup or Internet company on an executive’s r¿m¿o longer poses a handicap. In some cases, it offers a distinct advantage. Paul Groce, the partner in charge of recruiter Christian & Timbers’ CIO practice, says companies are looking for leaders who are creative, willing to take chances and can grow a company—qualities and capabilities found on the r¿m¿of dotcom vets. “Large corporations’ appetites for risk have returned, budgets have returned, and consolidation and cost rationalization has been done,” he says. The skills dotcom executives honed during the boom are back in demand.
Says Groce’s colleague Jeffrey Shapiro: “Brick-and-mortar companies are seeking out IT execs who were successful and had some measure of longevity with a Yahoo or a good startup, and who can bring those Internet, e-commerce and Web development skills to help them make a more compelling offering on the Web.”
Here are a few former dotcom CIOs who recently—and successfully—parlayed their skills and experience into new roles:
Ted Cahall assumed a new position at AOL as executive VP of its platforms business unit. He most recently worked for Classmates.com as its COO and previously for CNET Networks as its CIO.
David Chamberlain, a former CIO of Disney’s Go.com portal, was named president of National Interop. He was selected for his experience with large Internet operations.
Tom Pastorello joined apparel manufacturer Kellwood as its new director of e-commerce, reporting to CIO Michael Saunders. Pastorello previously worked for Barnes¿andnoble.com as its director of program management and for Williams-Sonoma, where he developed and implemented e-commerce sites.