But over the last couple of years it has become much harder for those made redundant to find new jobs. The increased business orientation of the role makes it tougher for IT directors to move from one vertical business sector to another, and the traditional stopgap of interim IT management has all but disappeared.
Some may be only too glad to take early retirement, but that still leaves a body of capable, extremely experienced people twiddling their thumbs. They have already managed large IT teams in the largest of organisations, know the tricks of the industry, have made their mistakes and appreciate they would not make them again.
So what happens to them? Those dynamic enough to stay around often hopefully call themselves consultants. A few manage to secure non-executive directorships and yet others take on charitable activities.
And what happens in their previous organisations?
Younger, ambitious business-oriented managers move into their positions. Rightly so, as long as they also have the opportunity to draw on the depth, experience and independence of true IT professionalism. If they do not, the huge IT-related project failure rate in both the private and the public sector can only continue.
One short cut remedy would be to use those jobless but seasoned ex-IT directors to monitor key IT-related projects from the earliest stages. Not as individual consultants, but as small teams of independent project auditors who will ask the right questions at the right time.
The key is to use small teams, where there is no reliance on one person. Their input would prevent basic mistakes, which would save wasted money. It would also enhance the former IT directors' own marketability.
This is no pipe dream. There are serious moves afoot behind the scenes to employ former IT directors in this sort of constructive approach, particularly in the hard-pressed public sector.