The IT guy has made it to the top - at last

It has finally happened. After years of anticipation, the IT guy has made it to the top.

If you collected £1 for every time there has been a prediction that IT leadership is the emerging route to becoming chief executive, it would probably be enough to pay the salary of Tesco’s CEO-elect and current group IT director Philip Clarke.

There has hardly been a rush of CIOs taking the big seat at the boardroom table. We have heard for years that the growing importance of technology means that the profession is an obvious training ground for business leaders. How many have made it? Not many.

So there can be no doubt that Clarke’s promotion at one of the highest-profile UK companies can only be a good thing for everyone working in IT.

But it is an important lesson too. Clarke has a dual role; he is also head of Tesco’s international operations. He has made it to the top by combining IT and business experience. He can bring a genuine grasp of the transformative potential of IT, but with shop-floor knowledge of the business it seeks to transform.

His success is a role model for any ambitious CIO – but an important reminder every IT professional of the importance of combining technology and business in your skills profile and your CV.