How CIOs can become CEOs: Thoughts from Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff

Digital strategy is a central pillar of any organization, and the importance of innovation across all industries provides an opportunity for CIOs to hone their skills and talents to potentially become chief executives.

Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com, spoke at the Forbes CIO Summit last week on the emerging partnership between CIOs and CEOs, reports CIO. He said in an era when organizations fear being disrupted by other more innovative companies, CEOs are doubling down on digital strategies, and CIOs are often the key partner in developing those strategies.

"When I look at what the CIO does today…it's very different than where it was a decade ago," Mr. Benioff said at the summit. "I don't think that you can separate the CEO and CIO relationship any longer."

And, the CIOs who successfully direct digital transformations position themselves for CEO positions.

"The CIOs are going to become the CEOs because to become the CEO, you're going to need this [digital] capability," Mr. Benioff said, according to the report. "More and more you'll see the CIO becoming the chief executive officer because the board is…getting a lot of exposure to the CIO, and then the board says that CIO has got that vision, has that idea and knows the digital transformations that we have to make to get back to growth. And the growth is going to come from the delivery of these next generation services. That's the CEO's job."

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