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InfoShot: CIOs Last Longer Than Football Managers (But Not CEOs)

IT watchers sometimes bemoan short-termism in the industry, pointing to the fact that the average CIO tenure is under six years, judged by many polls. And of course, for many CIOs, two or three-year stints are the norm. That’s just not long enough to really get under the skin of the business, critics argue, and it’s true that many CIOs leap from job to job with hardly a backward glance or get booted out without good reason.

Admittedly, the CIO office looks like it is fitted with a revolving door compared to the role of the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, where leaders enjoy the best part of 10 years in the hot seat. But things could be worse. The English League Managers Association calculates that Premier League football managers get just 1.9 years to work their magic. And even that figure is artificially inflated by long stints such as those at Arsenal where Arsene Wenger has spent 18 seasons and Manchester United where Sir Alex Ferguson passed 25 years. In a sign of the times though, Wenger is under pressure and Ferguson’s successor David Moyes was sacked today after just eight months in the job…

If football looks ridiculously fast to judge though it may be that business is too slow. A March 2013 Harvard Business review article argued that the optimal tenure for a CEO is 4.8 years. Go much beyond that and too many leaders have a tendency to perpetuate the status quo and rely too much on internal networks for feedback.

22-04-2015-job-roles

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Martin Veitch

Martin Veitch is Contributing Editor for IDG Connect

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