Tech experience on boards: 10 reasons Chief Technology Officers make great Non-Executive Directors

Every business is now a tech business. Yet many boards are still lacking technology skills. They have been for quite some time, in 2016 we saw that only 2% of FTSE 350 companies have a technology specialist in the boardroom¹. In 2020 research showed technology was the most commonly cited skill gap on FTSE 100 boards². The stats for other non-FTSE organisations aren’t readily available but from our experience the technology representation on those boards is often even weaker.

We asked 65 CTOs (Chief Technology Officers) why CTOs would make great Non-Executive Directors, and here’s the top 10 answers they came up with. 

1  Dispel the fear of tech!

CTOs on boards as NEDs can help organisations navigate through tech hype, and dispel any fear of tech. They can enable companies to make decisions with stronger understanding of the implications on the technology strategy.

2  Identify risks

Including both cyber risk and other general tech risk. A CTO can help support the organisation to impact assess risk to help know what to worry about and what not to worry about with technology. And when facing a live threat, they can help judge the adequacy of mitigations and actions.

3  Spend wisely

The scale of investment needed in technology can be daunting. Especially if you have a CTO coming in that wants to spend a lot of money. Having an independent CTO on the board can help reassure the board when the spend is justified.

4  Seeing the bigger picture

Holding a longer term vision for technology and an understanding of the wider technology market.

5  Gain insights into technical people and technical teams and how they operate

Often the technology teams can work in quite different ways to other parts of the business, they often speak a different language and work within regular shorter timescales (‘sprints’).

Sounding board for the CTO/ individual with responsibility for technology

The executive CTO will have someone to talk to at board level who actually understands the challenges/ opportunities the organisation is facing.

7  Gain access to networks.

CTOs generally have strong technical networks across multiple organisations, so they can find help the business gain access to professional support when needed.

Their mindset and experience helps them support the board in considering areas outside of technology too…

8  Deal with complexity and uncertainty

This is something CTOs are accustomed to, and making decisions with incomplete information.

9  Hyper problem solving

This comes readily to CTOs given their engineer mindset and background.

10  Experience hiring in tight markets 

Whilst for many boards the challenges of hiring in a tight labour market is relatively new, CTOs have been used to hiring in challenging conditions for some time.

Can Dynamic Boards help you?

  • If you’d like to attract CTOs to consider a Non-Executive role on your board, get in touch with us and we can reach out on your behalf to the candidates on our database that have technology experience.
  • If you have experience in technology and you’d like to consider applying for board roles please click here to view our board roles. It’s free to join Dynamic Boards and view our board roles, the last thing this industry needs is more pay to view or exclusive access clubs! 

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