December 03, 2012, 11:27 AM — Choosing a CIO is an important and potentially divisive decision. Many companies prefer to promote an internal IT candidate, but it's not always possible. Tapping an outsider can bring fresh perspective and experience to the CIO's office, but it also can have a negative effect on companies' efforts to develop IT management talent internally.
"You couldn't find a more polarizing topic," says Jack Cullen, president of IT staffing specialist Modis, of the insider/outsider hiring debate.
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In Cullen's experience, companies lean toward trying to hire from within. "In many cases, there's already a laid-out career path for people and a CIO's successor is being groomed," he says. "Often a CIO has a succession plan not only for himself but also for his leadership team."