You don’t need emerging markets experience to make it as a global CIO. But you do need a diverse set of skills and the willingness to shake up the status quo.
“You need a CIO who can be open and creative in their thinking, someone who has a variety of experiences, even if they haven’t had exactly this experience,” says Bob Haas, a partner and vice president with A.T. Kearney who leads the consultancy’s strategic IT practice for North America.
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Wayne Shurts, who last year became Cadbury’s global CIO, had no real international experience. But he did have a good business background. He’d spent 20 years at Nabisco in finance, sales, supply chain, marketing and e-business, followed by several years as a consultant. “I think what stood out was my hybrid background,” he says. “I know the business very well and I know IT very well.”
Ed Holmes, vice president of global IT for Stiefel, was a buyer and seller of IT services, ran a distribution company and worked as a consultant before he took his job overseeing IT operations in 28 countries for the skincare products maker. To thrive in a global role with developing markets responsibility, “a CIO needs to have the ability to learn from others and not always feel they have the right answer,” Holmes says.
Stephanie Overby is a freelance writer based in Massachusetts.