Leading edge advice for aspiring CIOs

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Twelve CIOs have accepted the invitation of the University of Auckland’s business school to comprise the inaugural advisory board for its course to train future CIOs.

The programme, now on its second year, runs from May to November. It aims to prepare mid-career IT professionals to step into the CIO role.

David Kennedy, group CIO for the Transaction Services Group and chair of the advisory board, says the members met last week to discuss the topics that would be relevant for the future CIO leadership in New Zealand.

He also discussed the powerful representation of this advisory board and how this will directly influence the country’s future digital enterprises. “We need to take the New Zealand economy forward with digital strategies, to enable stronger partnerships globally.”

Apart from Kennedy, the panel is composed of: Dawie Olivier of Westpac, Victor Vae’au of the NZ Defence Force, Jonathan Iles of Carter Holt Harvey, Claudia Vidal of Vector, Mike Clarke of KPMG, Faris Azimullah of Deloitte, Chris Trigg of Southern Cross Health Society, Kevin Angland of IAG, Simon Kennedy of The Warehouse Group, Michael Myers of the University of Auckland, Allan Lightbourne of Mighty River Power and Thomas Salmen of Spark Ventures.

David Kennedy

We need to take the New Zealand economy forward with digital strategies, to enable stronger partnerships globally.David Kennedy, Transaction Services Group

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Darilyn Kane, executive education manager, the University of Auckland, says the participants in the 2015 programme were asked what they found valuable in the course. One of the top answers were the presentations of CIOs, other C-suite executives and directors, on how they see the current and future CIO roles.

“The CIOs were open about their experiences and how they got into the role, plus the challenges they have now and in the future,” says Kane. The CIO and CEO presentations were all off the record, operating under Chatham House rules

This, she says, provided the impetus to strengthen the programme further by organising an advisory board. The board will also act as mentors for the participants.

The advisory group will be forthright with the issues that keeps CIOs awake at night, as well as on some changes in the executive suite, like the emergence of the strategic chief digital officer, she says.

“We asked the mentors to challenge them and to push them,” says Kane. “They will be getting advice beyond what they would normally have... from someone who has a high level of experience.”

Kane says the modules for the course are also evolving in line with what is happening in the workplace and in the CIO role itself.

Kane says some of the proposals for the course is to allow participants to be involved in peer mentoring by spending time with their fellow participants in their workplaces.

The participants, which are limited to a dozen each year, are sponsored by the organisation. They will also work with an internal sponsor and identify a strategic initiative in the organisation.

“The participants get the opportunity to work on something so they can apply what they are learning pretty immediately," says Kane.

Kennedy says he saw fiirst-hand how the delegates he mentored last year developed during the programme.

He also believes that running more than one of these programmes per year would be beneficial and allow more people exposure to some of the best CIOs in the country.

The members of the advisory board:

Dawie Olivier of Westpac at the 2016 CIO100 event

Victor Vae'au

Jonathan Iles

Mike Clarke - Partner in IT Advisory, specialising in IT Strategy and Performance, KPMG New Zealand

Claudia Vidal at a CIO NZ roundtable discussion

Chris Trigg

Kevin Angland (photo by CIO NZ)

Simon Kennedy, The Warehouse Group

Allan Lightbourne

Thomas Salmen

Dr Michael Myers, University of Auckland

Faris Azimullah of Deloitte

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Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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