Why is turnover so high among technology leaders?

October 10, 2022

Nordström last week announcement that Edmond Mesrobian, its chief information and technology officer since 2018, is stepping down, adding credence to the perception that turnover remains high for information technology executives.

A Korn ferry investigation of the The Top 1,000 U.S. Companies by Revenue conducted at the end of 2016 found that among the five leadership titles (CEO, CFO, CHRO, CMO CIO), CIO tenure averaged 4.3 years, the second lowest after the CMO, 4.1 years.

“The pace of change is rapid and the increasing scope of responsibilities continues to reconfirm the importance of the CIO role,” said Craig Stephenson, Senior Client Partner, Managing Director, North America CIO/CTO Practice, at Korn Ferry, at the time. “CIOs continually rise to the challenge and it is common for this senior executive profile to leave after a few years, not because of dissatisfaction, but because the challenge they set for themselves has been achieved and other opportunities , perhaps more important, await them.”

According to a PWC investigation, the failure of a large IT project is one of the main reasons for firing a CIO. Clunky legacy systems and lack of buy-in from key stakeholders.

According to articles on CIO.com, Forbes and elsewhere, strategic shifts and ever-increasing responsibilities due to rapid changes in technology, skill shortages, lack of advancement, and burnout are other factors contributing to technical executive turnover.

A harvard business review article from last year concluded that the particularly high turnover rate of chief data officers is due to “ill-defined roles” and “high expectations and low capacity” to quickly achieve data transformation that can take years.

Among other retailers, Starbucks, Walgreens, Kohl’s, CVS and Target are among those seeing changes to their technology suite this year. Nordstrom is looking for a replacement.

“We are grateful to Edmond for his leadership and his many contributions to our business, our employees and our customers,” said Erik Nordstrom, CEO, in an employee letter contacted by Daily Women’s Clothing. “It is clear that we are in a much better situation today than before his arrival. He played a key role in building the architecture, infrastructure and resiliency needed for us to be a digital-first company. »

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What is the reason for the seemingly high turnover rates of CTOs, CIOs, and other CIOs? What solutions do you see to support longer occupancy times, or are short stays unavoidable?


“Longer tenures are possible with financial rewards that provide significant bonuses or rewards when the technology proves its worth during use by the business.”


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