The High-Level Tech 'Gap'

Though improving, many boards still lack tech-experienced members.

Nearly every industry is being disrupted by technology, but the question remains: Are boards plugged in enough to understand the issues?

At a panel of leading experts at the recent MIT Sloan CIO Symposium, John Petzold, senior client partner and global co-head of Korn Ferry’s FinTech practice, suggested that while improving, company C-suites and boards still had work to do. 

While he said he is happy that more than half of CIOs at Fortune 100 firms report now report directly to the CEO, only 36% of Fortune 500 firms have a current or former chief tech executive on their board. “There’s a huge gap that needs to be addressed,” Petzold said.

The symposium focused as well on the debate over which leader within a company should be ultimately responsible for ensuring their firm stays on top of tech. Some said it was the CEO’s ultimate responsibility; another said it was the CIO’s job. Petzold said "it depends," but that whichever person is ultimately given the responsibility, tech must be a board-level strategic agenda item. “Technology has become so ubiquitous in terms of driving the business strategy forward that it has got to start at the top.”