Most social CIOs: 20 tech executives to follow on Twitter
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Most social CIOs: 20 tech executives to follow on Twitter

Clare Simmons and Kenny MacIver — August 2014

Which CIOs have a social media presence befitting their status and expertise? We profile the 20 IT leaders you should be following for digital insight, business inspiration and more.

What is on the minds of the world’s top CIOs? What new technologies impress them most? What are their frustrations and challenges? Who are they networking with and what conferences are they attending? Which business leaders do they admire most?

For some CIOs, Twitter has become an invaluable tool for networking and sharing information — and an effective way of positioning themselves and their organizations as digital champions. But as our guide to the 20 most prolific CIOs on Twitter shows, the social channel is also a mirror of their interests and activities — personal and professional.

Despite the under-representation of women among CIOs, Padmasree Warrior, head of technology and strategy at Cisco, tops the list as the most-followed technology leader, with almost 1.5 million people reading her tweets. Her nearest rivals in terms of sheer numbers are the CIOs of the US’s Federal Communications Commission, David Bray, whose informal, sincere style has helped earn him 70,400 adherents, and Robert Schmidt, CIO at the California Department of Food & Agriculture — the ‘Ambassador CIO’ — who’s followed by 68,200.

In fact, government CIOs are well represented in our list, possibly because as public servants they feel they should communicate their activities more openly than others. But the rest of the line-up is drawn from a broad set of industries, and includes IT leaders from energy, fashion, telecoms, retail, finance and CPG.

Most surprising, given the world they inhabit, is how few CIOs are currently active on social media. Our research shows that while tens of thousands of CIOs are voracious consumers of information on Twitter, only a few dozen are habitual tweeters — something of an inconsistency given the sheer numbers of followers they can attract, the influence they can wield, and the career-enhancing profile that social activity can afford them.

Let us know which CIOs you follow and think should be added to our list. And don’t forget to follow I-CIO @GlobalCIO.
20 IT leaders who tweet

Padmasree Warrior

Padmasree Warrior

Chief technology and strategy officer, Cisco
Location: USA
Followers: 1.47m
Scope: Women in IT, CSR, travel photography, innovation, corporate developments
Tweet example: My story “In Pursuit of the American Dream” via @HuffPostPol
Why follow: Hooked into the global digerati like few others
Frequency: 5-10 times daily

David Bray
CIO, the US Federal Communications Commission
Location: USA
Followers: 70,400
Scope: Tech insight, informal comment, open dialog
Tweet example: What I’ve seen in last 15+ years: centralized solutions fail, edge-based-IT-empowerment succeeds @digiphile@usgsa @govfresh #Intrapreneurs
Why follow: Great content curating plus conversations with other big thinkers
Frequency: 5-10 times daily

Robert Schmidt
CIO, California Department of Food and Agriculture
Location: USA
Followers: 68,200
Scope: Intersperses tech top 10s, how-tos and infographics with innovation quotations
Tweet example: “Eventually everything connects – people, ideas, objects...the quality of the connections is the key to quality.” – Charles Eames
Why follow: Senior government agency executive leading IT at $400m state department
Frequency: 5-10 times daily

Gabriel Gasparolo
Chief architect, Telefónica Chile
Location: Chile
Followers: 19,300
Scope: Tech, science and innovation
Tweet example: The Value of Customer Experience, Quantified by @peterkriss@harvardbiz (via @SoftwareAG)
Why follow: Expertly curated geek content
Frequency: Hourly

Oliver Bussmann

Embedded Oliver Bussmann Laurent Burst LRB3589

Group CIO, UBS
Location: Switzerland
Followers: 10,700
Scope: Combs tech press for must-reads
Tweet example: The Global Unicorns Universe < must read #CIO
Why follow: Transformational IT leader with 25 years’ experience in finance and tech who leads the social CIO pack
Frequency: Bi-weekly
• See articles featuring Oliver Bussmann at I-CIO

Kim Stevenson
CIO, Intel
Location: USA
Followers: 5,610
Scope: Tech industry highlights and Intel news; women in IT
Tweet example: Cracking the Girl Code: How to End the Tech Gender Gap via @TIME #intelcio
Why follow: Insider’s perspective on cutting-edge technology and CIO issues
Frequency: 2-3 times daily
• See articles featuring Kim Stevenson at I-CIO

Adam Stanley
Global CIO, DTZ
Location: USA
Followers: 4,840
Scope: Tech notes and news, lists for leadership
Tweet example: #switchandshift Are you a TOP Leader? - Working through a series of jobs with varying roles in leadership ...
Why follow: CIO of property services giant, and former global CTO at Aon and Aviva, shares enthusiasm for new tech
Frequency: Hourly

Mike Kail
CIO/SVP of infrastructure, Yahoo!
Location: USA
Followers: 4,560
Scope: All things tech, CIO challenges, successes and leadership, whiskey
Tweet example: It is far easier to say why you can't do something, than to say why you can. #thinkdifferent
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Why follow: CIO intelligence from the former VP of IT operations at Netflix
Frequency: 5-10 times daily

Jonathan Reichental
CIO, City of Palo Alto
Location: USA
Followers: 3,670
Scope: Smart cities, open government, public sector IT
Tweet example: U.S. Digital Services Playbook:
Why follow: Passionate about digital government and use of IT to improve society
Frequency: Daily

Andre Thomas
CIO/head of IT development, German Transfer
Location: Germany
Followers: 3,290
Scope: Highlighting transportation innovation; the share economy; digital disruptors
Tweet example: Sustainable #Innovation needs much more than just a focus on technological issues with building an #app !
Why follow: Insider’s perspective on innovation in the ground transport industry
Frequency: Daily

Neil Pearce
CIO, Vodafone
Location: UK
Followers: 3,230
Style: Role of the CIO, leadership and careers, digital CIOs, The CIO’s Daily news summary
Tweet example: How Can A #CIO Adjust To Working For A New CEO?
Why follow: Senior IT leader draws on roles at Vodafone, Tesco and BP to evolve ‘social media brain’
Frequency: 2-5 times daily

Jos Creese
CIO, Hampshire County Council
Location: UK
Followers: 3,100
Style: Open commentary on pubic sector IT; digital challenges for CIOs
Tweet example: Overwhelming support for joined-up health records ... Of course we do .. lets do it!
Why follow: Public sector insights combined with a personal perspective on digital
Frequency: 3-4 times per week

Paul Coby

Paul Coby-John-Lewis-PR

Director of IT at John Lewis
Location: UK
Followers: 3,070
Scope: Military history, world music, the arts and architecture, airline technology... and pointers to great IT content
Tweet example: Tech City Insider radio show about #JLAB - the @johnlewisretail incubator now live
Why follow: Highly influential UK CIO at £10.2 billion ($17.4bn) retailer and the former head of IT at British Airways – and an authority on ancient civilizations
Frequency: 2-3 times daily
• See articles featuring Paul Coby at I-CIO 

Sonny Hashmi
CIO, US Government Services Agency
Location: USA
Followers: 2,760
Scope: Cloud, gadgets, design, digital government
Tweet example: Dropped a “let’s keep it weird” in an interagency strategy meeting today. Achievement unlocked!
Why follow: CIO managing the government agency’s $600 million IT budget always keen to learn and share digital know-how
Frequency: Daily

Rick Holgate
CIO, US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Location: USA
Followers: 2,570
Scope: Security, government tech/business engagement, cross-agency cooperation
Tweet example: Persistent and scary theme throughout #AspenSecurity: we’re in a pre-9/11 moment when it comes to cyber #yikes
Why follow: Insider US government IT chat
Frequency: Daily

Sabine Everaet
Group CIO Europe, The Coca-Cola Company
Location: Belgium
Followers: 1,930
Scope: Global tech developments, diversity and debate
Tweet example: Are you committed to advancing women leadership in the foodservice industry #wff100kstrong?
Why follow: Industry tech head keeping a close eye on innovation
Frequency: 2-3 times per week

Wayne Shurts
EVP and CTO, Sysco
Location: USA
Followers: 1,910
Scope: CIO careers, strategic IT and business issues, mixed in with personal interests
Tweet example: So true and wise ... QT“@DougConant: Keep Your Successes Close & Your Mistakes Closer:
Why follow: Observations on the CIO profession from head of IT at $44bn food product distribution giant and the former CIO of SUPELVALU and Cadbury.
Frequency: Weekly

Anthony Watson
Location: USA
Followers: 1,680
Scope: Promoting equality/diversity, Nike innovation, customer service, motivational quotes
Tweet example: Launching @Nike #Technology #PerformanceBars. Think #Apple genius bars, but for @Nike employees and elevated ;)
Frequency: Daily
• See articles featuring Anthony Watson at I-CIO 

Ian Cohen
CIO, Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group
Location: UK
Followers: 1,520
Scope: Strategic IT, Chelsea FC, and rock music commentary
Tweet example: An Introduction to Data-Driven Decisions for managers who don’t ‘do maths’... Via ‪@HarvardBiz‬‬‬‬‬ -
Why follow: No-nonsense feedback — and occasional evangelism — on the tech trends
Frequency: 2-3 times per week

Laurent Maumet
CIO and VP procurement, Soitec
Location: France
Followers: 1,290
Scope: Work efficiency, exercise, evolution of technology
Tweet example: I’ve just finished to watch “The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz”. You should stop what you are doing and watch it NOW.
Why follow: IT industry and tech observations and pointers from head of IT at solar energy chip-maker
Frequency: Daily


• See also: The top management gurus who tweet

First published August 2014
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