I really hate this kind of discussion, as if there's a mold that fits a good CTO or CIO.
Let's examine the qualities of a good executive rather:
- Practices enabling and empowering engineers and local team leadership
- Deflects bureaucracy from external sources
- Helps remove organizational blockers to change and improvement
- Does not mandate architecture from the top down
- Acts as an evangelist for software first solutions
- Promotes automation and solid foundations for solving problems rather than implementing patches
- Knows how to avoid unrealistic deadlines and demands quality, but not perfection, over quantity of features
- Uses data to solve problems and constantly evaluates the integrity of the data gathering
- Values iterative development rather than long, cumbersome planning processes
- Values education and internal training & advancement over outsourcing
I'll add some more if I can think of them. We need to stop assuming a CTO or CIO is a list of resume qualifiers and start hiring people who really understand the process of building, maintaining, and delivering software from sun rise to sun set.