November 12, 2009, 4:10 PM — You don't need emerging markets experience to make it as a global CIO. But you do need a diverse set of skills and the willingness to shake up the status quo.
"You need a CIO who can be open and creative in their thinking, someone who has a variety of experiences, even if they haven't had exactly this experience," says Bob Haas, a partner and vice president with A.T. Kearney who leads the consultancy's strategic IT practice for North America.
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Wayne Shurts, who last year became Cadbury's global CIO, had no real international experience. But he did have a good business background. He'd spent 20 years at Nabisco in finance, sales, supply chain, marketing and e-business, followed by several years as a consultant. "I think what stood out was my hybrid background," he says. "I know the business very well and I know IT very well."
Ed Holmes, vice president of global IT for Stiefel, was a buyer and seller of IT services, ran a distribution company and worked as a consultant before he took his job overseeing IT operations in 28 countries for the skincare products maker. To thrive in a global role with developing markets responsibility, "a CIO needs to have the ability to learn from others and not always feel they have the right answer," Holmes says.