We can't help it; we worry about inciting needless angst among CIOs. That was the case when we blogged about the decisions of some companies and government agencies to eliminate CIO roles and again when we wrote about a slowdown in CIO recruitment.
A recent ComputerWeekly.com survey reinforced the idea of a reduced demand for CIOs, finding that the current number of public advertisements for such positions in the UK fell 31 percent from the previous quarter.
A managing director of a recruitment firm believes this could actually indicate that CIOs now enjoy more job stability; less churn means fewer ads. Another recruitment expert thinks companies are more likely to engage headhunters to find CIOs rather than advertising for them.
Don't breathe easy yet, though. Now there is this: InformationWeek columnist Bob Evans points out that the CIO is conspicuously missing from a list of executive team members at seven of the dozen big companies whose Web sites he recently visited.
One of the company he cites is Google, whoselack of a CIO was earlier reported in one of those "how is Google different" profiles about the search giant that InformationWeek published last August. That article referred to the VP of engineering as Google's "de facto CIO."
This supports the idea that some of the companies may simply employ a different title for their top tech execs. At Coca-Cola, for instance, Evans notes that a list of its top executives includes a senior VP and chief innovation/research and development officer. Evans also posits that the CIO title may no longer accurately describe the rapidly shifting responsibilities of tech execs.
Still, the CIO omission troubles him. He writes:
... whatever the actual, legitimate reason, I don't think it's exactly a ringing endorsement that many of these sites populate their top executive ranks with general counsels and heads of HR and top engineers and such, but don't find it necessary to include a CIO on the first string.