The rise of the Gen X CIO

The rise of the Gen X CIO

Every year Chris Runciman “resigns” as chief information officer of Sheppard Industries.

“I walk out the door and ask myself, what would my successor do differently? What mistakes have we made in the past year that we need to put an end to or what opportunities do we need to seize?”

It is a mental exercise Runciman has been doing for the past seven years, having read how Intel founder Andy Grove does the same thing.

Runciman, who is 37, joined Sheppard Industries 10 years ago and has seen the bike retailer and manufacturer grow to become Australasia’s largest supplier to the cycle industry.

Runciman is one of the Gen X CIOs (those in their 30s to early 40s) featured in the February/March 2009 issue of CIO magazine.

The Gen X CIOs, as Runciman explains, have grown up with ICT as integrators rather than as developers. They are now stepping up to the top ICT posts, as the first generation of Baby Boomer CIOs start to retire or take on other work.

This group of CIOs may also have a background in business rather than ICT, like Simon Conroy of Flight Centre. His career path to CIO was via roles in finance, strategy and project management.

“You get a broader base of experience to bring to a company,” he says.

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