The summer has brought about sweltering heat and a slew of executive appointments in enterprise IT.
A midyear CIO appointment can bring opportunity, giving new executives a chance to influence budget proposals and playbooks for next year. Summer leadership changes also allow businesses to respond to shifting economic realities or expand senior tech expertise.
Selecting a CIO midyear can improve retention for candidates rising to the position from within, as it shows commitment to an executive's vision and professional growth. That was the experience of Jon Pratt, CIO at 11:11 Systems.
"By appointing me midyear, breaking the usual promotion cycle for me, it showed that the company invests in me, the company really values me," said Pratt, who previously served as SVP of technical operations at iland Cloud, and became CIO in July 2022 following 11:11 Systems' acquisition of the company.
Midyear executive appointments can also afford incoming candidates a chance to shape corporate strategy for the following year.
"You're finishing up the execution of the prior strategy, and you're stepping into the planning for the next year," said Bobby Cameron, VP, principal analyst at Forrester. "If it's not a sudden shift, then it's actually a good time to come in, because the planning I do right now is for 2024."
Another factor influencing the timing of appointments is the yearly bonus schedule — typically companies award executive bonuses during the first quarter of the year.
"Your compensation offer to a very good CIO or C-level person might have to be increased, because you're competing with the eventual bonus or payout they might get," said Pratt. "If you get to midyear, usually that stuff has already cleared."
Amid ongoing shifts in what businesses expect from technology leaders, executives are keeping an eye on the job market.
Two in 5 C-suite executives are at least somewhat likely to consider changing companies, according to Skillsoft data. Though intention to stay is higher for senior executives than other IT roles, the survey shows executives follow company performance and potential gains in compensation when weighing a career shift.
Why midyear timing makes sense
Organizations name new CIOs due to many factors, such as upcoming retirement or resignation of current leaders. New business strategies may require specific skill sets that aren't currently available and call for fresh leadership.
Other organizations shift CIOs when strategies just aren't panning out.
"When organizations aren't achieving their outcomes, heads have to roll," said Christie Struckman, VP analyst at Gartner. "They have to, or your shareholders are going to say: 'What are you doing'?"
In a well-functioning organization, leaving the tech leadership seat vacant can mean deadlines get missed, projects go unfulfilled or business-critical platforms fail, hurting the business in the process.
"It's a problem to have that position open for too long," said Struckman.
When leadership is in place, but isn't aligning with what the company needs, the sooner the better.
"If you know you need to make a change, you make a change now," said Pratt. "You don't wait. It's worse for your company, because you don't want people making bad decisions or perpetuating bad strategic decisions and operations."