Top social CIOs: 25 must-follow IT leaders on Twitter
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Top social CIOs: 25 must-follow IT leaders on Twitter

Maxine Marshall and Kenny MacIver — April 2016
What role does social media play in the professional lives of CIOs and how do the best exponents exploit it? I-CIO identifies 25 of the most influential IT leaders on Twitter.

What is on the minds of world’s top CIOs? What new innovations impress them the most? What are their technology 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 their thoughts — an effective way of positioning themselves and their organizations as digital champions. But as our guide to the 25 most prolific CIOs on Twitter shows, the social channel is also a mirror of their interests and activities — personal and professional.

Leading the list are two highly vocal government CIOs.  The prolific social output of David Bray, the US Federal Communications Commission’s CIO, has earned him 131,000 followers. (Bray recently featured in I-CIO’s Big Thinker video interview series, outlining Why it’s important for IT leaders to be social CIOs.) Close behind him, in terms of adherents, is the CIO of California, Robert Schmidt — the ‘Ambassador CIO’ — who is followed by 120,000.

In fact, public service CIOs are the largest group in list, making up seven of the 25, possibly because as public servants they feel they should be more open about their activities. But the remainder of the line-up is drawn from a broad set of industries and includes IT leaders from tech and telecoms, financial services, real estate, healthcare, building materials, education and consumer goods.

The geographical spread and number of female CIOs is also up on previous years. While CIOs from the USA still dominate, they are joined by IT leaders based in France, Ireland, the UK, Belgium, Chile, Germany and Switzerland. And 20% of the top 25 most-social CIOs are now women.

However, what is surprising — especially 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, less than 100 are regular tweeters — something of an inconsistency given the sheer number of followers they could attract, the success-stories they could broadcast about their organizations, and the career-enhancing profile that social activity could afford them.

• The list below is ranked by numbers of followers. It was compiled with the generous help of many of the IT leaders featured — as well as from recommendations by many of their followers. Let us know which CIOs you follow and think should be added to our list. And don’t forget to follow I-CIO @GlobalCIO.
25 of the most-followed IT leaders on Twitter

David Bray

CIO, the US Federal Communications Commission
Location: USA
Followers: 131,000
Scope: Tech and management insight, cloud, security, government IT
Tweet example: There are no IT projects, they’re all business/org projects, so empower teams similarly
Why follow: Well-respected thought leader sharing his own IT leadership insights and that of his highly connected peers
Frequency: 5-10 times a day
• See I-CIO's video interviews with David Bray

Robert Schmidt


Chief of the Office of Technology Services, California Department of Technology
Location: USA
Followers: 121,000
Scope: IoT, mobility and the digital workplaces
Tweet example: #siliconvalley futurist predicts dramatic changes through #technology via CADeptTech
Why follow: Senior government agency executive regularly sharing industry insight
Frequency: 4-7 times a day

Gabriel Gasparolo


Chief architect, Telefónica Chile
Location: Chile
Followers: 24,700
Scope: Tech, science and innovation
Tweet example: You should standardize on the integration and not on the platform!
Why follow: Technology tweets with a sense of humor
Frequency: 2-3 times a day

Oliver Bussmann

Embedded Oliver Bussmann Laurent Burst LRB3589
Former Group CIO, UBS
Location: Switzerland
Followers: 16,200
Scope: Combs tech press for must-reads
Tweet example: What is #blockchain, how will it disrupt banking?  #fintech via @wef
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: 11,800
Scope: Diversity in IT, Intel news and industry updates
Tweet example: Global gender equality is smart business—it could result in a 27% boost to India’s economy alone: #IamIntel
Why follow: Inspirational and widely admired tech leader
Frequency: 2-3 times daily

• See articles featuring Kim Stevenson at I-CIO

Mike Kail


Chief innovation officer, Cybric
Location: USA
Followers: 8,500
Scope: IT security, cloud and an inspirational quote or two
Tweet example: Periodic passive scanning has proven to be ineffective --> Software security needs a new perspective
Why follow: CIO intelligence from the former CIO of Yahoo! and ex-head of IT operations at Netflix
Frequency: 5-10 times a day

Adam Stanley


Global CIO, Cushman & Wakefield
Location: USA
Followers: 7,600
Scope: Tech news and leadership content
Tweet example: #switchandshift The Morning Rituals of 10 of the World’s Most Inspirational Entrepreneurs [Infographic]
Why follow: CIO of real estate giant, and former global CTO at Aon and Aviva, shares enthusiasm for new tech and management
Frequency: 5-10 times a day

Ben Haines


VP global information systems & business entertainment, Yahoo!
Location: USA
Followers: 6,800
Scope: Cloud, theMyPOV #CIO’s need move focus from plumbing and move their teams further up the stack to rebuild the archaic #EnSW that exists #GCPNEXT
Why follow: Former CIO of Pabst Brewing and Box is part of the US cloud pack and an avid sharer of industry news
Frequency: 5-7 times a day


David Chou


VP and CIO, Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City
Handle: @dchou1107
Location: USA
Followers: 6,600
Scope: Broad tech industry and business management news and research
Tweet example: Gartner Says Technology Service Providers Must Implement a Bimodal Road Map or Risk Being Left Behind
Why follow: Well-curated content for IT management, with a bias for healthcare IT
Frequency: 30-40 times a day

Jonathan Reichental


CIO, City of Palo Alto
Location: USA
Followers: 6,100
Scope: Smart cities, government IT and open data in both English and Spanish
Tweet example: A Beacon for New Ideas: Palo Alto CIO on Everything You Need to Know About the Future of Cities:
Why follow: Passionate about the impact IT is having on the world and a welcome human touch in the form of photographs from his global city tours.
Frequency: 2-5 times a day


Jay Ferro


CIO, American Cancer Society
Location: USA
Followers: 5,800
Scope: IT management issues, security, management aphorisms
Tweet example: Help Your Team Manage Stress, Anxiety, and Burnout #CIO #leadership
Why follow: Thoughtful collection of management-oriented content
Frequency: 2-3 times a day


Isaac Sacolick


Global CIO, Greenwich Advisors
Handle: @nyike
Location: USA
Followers: 5,600

Scope: Digital disruption, business culture, innovation and links to blog starCIO
Tweet example: 5 Principles on What Makes a Great #Agile Development Team
Why follow: Nicely curated set of digital business content
Frequency: 3-6 times a day


Miguel Gamiño


CIO, City of San Francisco
Location: USA
Followers: 5,300
Scope: Diversity in tech, smart cities, government IT
Tweet example: The possibilities; living in a connected city, boggle the mind. We’re in our infancy @kyork20  #IoT
Why follow: Interesting flow of tech observations and feeds, (appropriately) Bay Area-centric
Frequency: 3-5 times a day

Neil Pearce


CTO, Travis Perkins
Location: UK
Followers: 4,600
Scope: News summaries for CIOs and the C-suite on tech and leadership
Tweet example: CIOs who master digital transformation will become CEOs  #CIO
Why follow: Collates CIO-relevant tweets and content
Frequency: 2-3 times a day

Richard Corbridge


CIO, Health Service Executive
Location: Ireland
Followers: 4,400
Scope: Digital healthcare, Ireland and music
Tweet example: #eHealth4All - Should we start this long journey knowing we should strive to 'just' be liked only a little bit less than where we are now!
Why follow: Great flow of tech content, especially for healthcare IT followers
Frequency: 5-7 times a day

Cynthia Stoddard


CIO, NetApp
Location: USA

Followers: 3,900
Scope: Handpicked news selection
Tweet example: Why enterprise architects must be catalysts for change via @4enterprisers <<-- catalyst for change - well said!
Why follow:  Seasoned CIO with an eye for – and the occasional comment on — what matters to IT leaders
Frequency: 1-2 times a day


Joanna Young


VP and CIO, Michigan State University
Location: USA
Followers: 3,800
Scope: Data, women in tech and C-suite issues
Tweet example: Don't work with rules. Work with people. #voiceofthecolleague #voiceofthecustomer #CIO #leadership
Why follow: Joanna shares industry news but also regularly engages with Twitter chats allowing for peers discussions
Frequency: 3-5 times a day



Sheila Jordan


CIO, Symantec
Location: USA
Followers: 3,800
Scope: video, mobile and leadership
Tweet example: #ForbesCIOSummit Lars dalgaard @LarsLuv ...CIO's should lean in, take more risks. We can. Transform the business.
Why follow: Inspirational thoughts about the power of IT in business.
Frequency: 4-6 times a week

Andre Thomas


CIO/head of IT development, German Transfer
Location: Germany
Followers: 3,700
Scope: Tech in the automotive industry, Uber and the sharing economy
Tweet example: How Many American Cities Are Preparing For The Arrival of #SelfDriving Cars? Not Many.  #mobility
Why follow: Not afraid to share his views and opinions on the tech stories he tweets
Frequency: 2-5 times a week

Sabine Everaet


Group CIO Europe, The Coca-Cola Company
Location: Belgium
Followers: 3,200
Scope: AI, women in tech, research
Tweet example: Why are 'innovative' tech companies still struggling with diversity?
Why follow: Good mix of content highlighting the latest data and diversity issues in tech
Frequency: 3-5 times per week

Giancarlo Gonzalez


Former CIO of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
Location: Puerto Rico
Followers: 3,000
Scope: Tech and government, entrepreneurship and IT security
Tweet example: Pres Obama at #sxsw talking to people at cutting edge of tech, trying to find a way for federal government to be part of positive change.
Why follow: Insights from an ex-government CIO who is encouraging technology development in Puerto Rico
Frequency: 2-3 times a day

Ian Cohen


Former CIO, Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group
Location: UK
Followers: 2,400
Scope: Future tech capabilities, entrepreneurship and Chelsea FC
Tweet example: Which big data technologies are most in demand and promise the most growth potential?  
Why follow: Great for future gazing tech potential, opinions and soccer
Frequency: 4-6 times a day


Bryan Sastokas


CIO and head of technology and Innovation, Long Beach, CA
Location: USA
Followers: 2,200
Scope: Tech and business industry news
Tweet example: Execs—We’re not responsible for cybersecurity
Why follow: Well-curated feed of tech news from around the world
Frequency: 5-7 times a day


Andrew Abboud


VP, IT, Laureate Hospitality Education
Location: UK
Followers: 1,900
Scope: General tech, business, ed tech
Tweet example: UK universities get hacked ‘once every hour’  << chances are if we think it is this bad, reality is even worse
Why follow: Curated list of tech and business news for IT leaders
Frequency:  4-6 times a day

Laurent Maumet


CIO and VP for quality/operations support/transformation, Soitec
Location: France
Followers: 1,800
Scope: AI, machine learning and leadership strategy
Tweet example: I've read a lot about machine learning to understand what it's about. Here's the result  #machinelearning
Why follow: An insightful mix of future trends and the current tech updates making headlines.
Frequency: 2-4 times a day.

• See also: The top management gurus who tweet

First published April 2016
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