How many tech execs does your board really need?

The rising importance of security, data and digital has many organizations broadening their C-suites. C-suite execs comment on the number of chief-level tech officers a board needs.

How many tech execs does your board really need?
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How many techies need to be part of your company’s leadership team? From CIO to CSO to CTO, there’s no shortage of tech titles to choose from. But does your company really need all these roles? CJ Das with Simple Tire says no: Tech needs representation in the C-suite, yes, but not a lot of people. His title is chief information officer (CIO) and that’s the only upper management position he says his company needs.

His current company, that is. The business where Das worked before — ArroHealth — had a vice president of security, a vice president of application development, a vice president of technology; his current employer has different needs. ArroHealth is a risk adjustment firm. SimpleTire supplies tires to stores like Walmart and Central Tractor: different business models, different technical requirements, and very different data.

“The normal perception is that the CIO is not the security guy, we need a CSO,” Das says, but “it's not a person who needs a seat at the table. The topic needs a seat at the table. … [As CIO] I'm really the most aware person from the CEO’s perspective.”

Organizational structure is all about communication

Michael Garcia, vice president of command center at Capital One, disagrees. So does Rich Licato, chief information security officer (CISO) for Airlines Recording Corp. (ARC), a platform airlines use to distribute tickets. They say security needs its own C-level rep. Licato also favors having a chief risk officer (CRO). But the two do agree with Das on one thing: Whether you have a single technical leader or twenty, businesses should choose the structure that helps the company communicate.

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