During the past five or so years, CIO Peter Milla has seen some peers lured away to new jobs by dot-com salaries and watched others lose their jobs to acquisitions. In 2001, the average CIO tenure was just 36 months, according to Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc.
But the profession has become more stable of late. A Gartner survey of 1,400 CIOs in De-cember found that CIO tenure had grown to 4.3 years. That's an increase of 43% since 2001.
A more stable economy and the fact that big-spending CIOs of the late 1990s were weeded out have contributed to the increase, says Mark McDonald, a Gartner group vice president. CIOs confirm the trend in the retail, high technology and trucking industries, among others.
Milla's tenure is above average. He joined Harris Interactive Inc. in 1999, when it was a $29 million company. Last June, the market research firm in Rochester, N.Y., reported annual revenue of $146 million. "CIO is a highly volatile position. To a certain extent, I'm surprised to be here after 5.5 years," he says. The secret behind his tenure? The company's success and its appreciation of technology.
Of course, his longevity benefits the company, too. "I've gained institutional and organizational knowledge around the job," Milla says. "I can be more effective."