In the good old days of private equity, firms would make an acquisition, take care of a few little things like management, market, product and brand, and sell the company at a profit. The credit crunch being what it is, however, most private equity firms are holding on to their properties longer than they had originally intended. Forced to drive out a whole new layer of costs, firms are spending more time evaluating and improving the IT infrastructure of their companies.
The smartest among these firms are hiring a new kind of partner to manage IT for their acquisitions. With a healthy mix of technology knowledge, business strategy, financial acumen and consulting experience, these former CIOs are playing a critical role in value creation. They are replacing expensive IT consultants, running companies on an interim basis, developing competitive IT strategies and providing a consistent standard of operational excellence across all the properties in a firm's portfolio.
This is a killer job. It provides the variety of a consulting role without the imperative to hustle for business, it exposes the CIO to a wide range of executives and business models, and it allows him or her to have a positive impact on a range of companies.
But as with most wonderful things, it is not that easy to obtain. Many firms continue to rely on IT consultants and have not yet considered hiring a full-time IT executive. To learn more about this new role and what it takes to obtain it, I spoke with three CIOs-turned-private-equity-partners.
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