CIO exit strategy: The keys to preserving your brand

Solid succession plans are no-brainers for IT leaders. But so are high-quality exit strategies that leave both the business and IT well positioned.

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CIOs understand full well the value of succession planning in the digital age. But IT leaders must also diligently prepare for the day they walk out the door for the last time: the exit strategy.

Companies across all industries are transforming their business models as digital disruptors ding their bottom lines. In doing so, they are cutting bait on failing products and processes and pivoting toward digital strategies. Such turbulence is a big reason why 30 to 50 percent of CIOs transition roughly every 18 months today, says Gartner analyst Monika Sinha.

This also means it’s more important than ever for CIOs to exit without damaging the executive brand they’ve cultivated or destroying the relationship between IT and the business. Poorly managed CIO transitions can compromise corporate goals and introduce unnecessary risk, Sinha says. This can impact the CIO’s pursuit of new opportunities, create organizational anxiety and tension, and cast a pall on the next CIO.

“They want to ensure the successor can take that baton and move the enterprise agenda forward,” Sinha tells CIO.com. “Doing that effectively will also help enhance their brand so that they’re leaving on a high note.”

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