What to look for in a CIO

Ohio University announced this month that it hired a new chief information officer to replace William Sams, who resigned last year shortly after announcing that hackers had broken into university databases and stolen personal information belonging to students, alumni and contractors, including health information and Social Security numbers. In the press release announcing the hiring of J. Brice Bible, the former assistant vice president for information technology at the University of Tennessee, Ohio University President Roderick McDavis said Brice was hired “for his ability to think analytically, work with all stakeholders and understand organizational issues. We wanted someone … who could create a strategic direction for IT ….” Top government executives would do well to follow McDavis’ hiring strategy. Those abilities, and McDavis' leadership view of the CIO as a strategic partner in an organization, are exactly what the Government Accountability Office and at least one agency inspector general have reported as sorely needed in government. Their absence is one primary reason why government IT projects continue to fail at a high rate, the auditors conclude.