by Meridith Levinson

What’s Next for Housing Industry CIOs

Aug 29, 20072 mins

When an industry hits the skids, as high tech did in 2001, a spike in executive management turnover usually ensues. Following that logic, you’d think IT executives would be leaving mortgage, construction and real estate companies in droves, what with the housing market experiencing its deepest and most protracted slump in years. But they’re not. For all intents and purposes, management inside the housing industry has remained relatively stable.

“There has been a slight trend upward [in management churn] in the mortgage industry, but it’s not been as big as one would have expected at this point,” says Richard Jacovitz, senior VP and research director at Liberum Research, a provider of investment research focused on management change. “It may be that the shakeout hasn’t wheeled its way through the personnel end.”

It may also be that many of the subprime lenders hit hardest by the slump have already gone out of business: New Century Financial filed for Chapter 11 in April (its former CIO-turned-COO Joseph Eckroth found a new home with Hertz as its CIO in June). Mortgage Lenders Network discontinued its wholesale lending operation in January, a month after Ownit Mortgage Solutions closed up shop.

Jim Bond, managing director and head of technology practice with executive search firm Horton International, advises CIOs in the housing industry to begin looking for new jobs elsewhere now. Ironically, Bond sees a lot of opportunities for CIOs with high-tech startups, whose investors are seeking experienced CIOs to build the companies’ infrastructures for growth. “CIOs I talk to are getting lots of calls from the venture capital community,” he says.

That may mean going from one boom and bust industry to another.