Boardroom Bound

5 compelling reasons why CIOs should pursue board seats now

Interested in serving on a board? Don’t wait for retirement.

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Marianne McPeak-Johnson’s first opportunity to serve on a public company board was  a great experience that (alas) ended in equally great disappointment.

Recruited for an outside board position while she was head of a product innovation and technology division at First Data Corp. in 2017, McPeak-Johnson had the board offer in hand when a last-minute conflict of interest arose. The company whose board she was about to join acquired another firm that conflicted with her employer’s business.

“It was so disappointing to have to recuse myself,” she recalls, “but at the end of the day, my primary obligation was to First Data.”

Marianne McPeak-Johnson, chief product officer, Cox Automotive Marianne McPeak-Johnson, chief product officer, Cox Automotive

Now serving as chief product officer for Cox Automotive since 2018, the longtime financial technology veteran discussed her board aspirations with the Cox CEO and senior management team before accepting the job. “I told them I intended to serve on only one board,” she notes, “and they were very supportive.”

In April, McPeak-Johnson joined the public board of Chicago-based OneSpan, a network security vendor. She also joined the growing ranks of fulltime C-suite executives who aren’t waiting for retirement to secure a seat at the boardroom table.

If your first reaction is “No way do I have the time with my day job!” it might be time to reconsider. Here are five reasons why fulltime CIOs should be boardroom bound today. 

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