From CIO to CEO: 10 tips for taking your career to the top

CIOs turned presidents and CEOs discuss their rise to the top and offer insights for IT leaders considering similar leaps.

From CIO to CEO: 8 tips for leveling up
MATJAZ SLANIC / Getty Images

Businesses have fallen in love with the aphorism, “Every company is becoming a technology company," owing to the importance of digital capabilities. Some companies are taking that idea a step further by hiring CIOs as presidents, COOs and CEOs.

Tapping IT leaders as head honchos does not yet qualify as a trend, but more companies may install CIOs as CEOs if they have led massive transformations, says Khalid Kark, managing director of Deloitte’s CIO program. Digital-minded CIOs may be the only executives with experience managing the velocity of change required to help a business avoid disruption — or recover from it when it happens.

"With the right context and background, they’re not a bad candidate for driving the highest leadership position within the firm,” Kark says.

CIOs who wish to level up must also demonstrate they can handle operations, sales, marketing and, perhaps most importantly, business strategy — veritable Swiss-Army knife leaders who can operate at every level of the business.

Here three former CIOs share their paths to the top and offer tips for CIOs with an eye on leveling up.

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