A small but growing number of CIOs are earning a place in the inner circle as CEOs. Their success and failures hold lessons for CIOs looking to redefine their roles as business leaders.
Man of the Match
From finance to technology and then to corporate communication, Ashish Chauhan has played at every position possible. And now he has a team of his own to captain.
It's rather strange. Every time Ashish Chauhan, deputy CEO, BSE, starts a new innings, he's welcomed by bouncers.
Take his stint at the IPL, for instance. As CIO of Reliance Industries Chauhan had held various positions within the organization that shot him into the spotlight. This garnered him so much management trust that they offered him the coveted position of the CEO of Mumbai Indians (the IPL team owned by the Reliance Group) - a role that he grabbed with both hands.
But as soon as he took on the mantle of heading one of the most popular teams in the IPL, a spat between the Indian government and IPL's management shifted the venue for the matches from India to South Africa.
This meant increased expenditure, more complex logistics, having to make the team popular in a new country and scoring points with the media.
But 41-year-old Chauhan was unfazed. Having headed the corporate communication department at Reliance, he knew what it would take to get media mileage. Not only that, he managed to use his interpersonal and PR skills to garner popularity for his team on foreign shores. "I used my entire gamut of skills to get my team ahead. I translated my people management skills into effective leadership," says Chauhan.
That's why being a CEO isn't everybody's cup of tea. It is Chauhan's belief in taking on different responsibilities and grabbing every opportunity - IT or otherwise - that helped him reach where he is today. Chauhan credits his decision to head corporate communications for helping him become a better CEO. "I wanted to identify other relevant areas of business and apply myself to them. I wanted new roles in which I could have a profound impact in delivering value to business. I believe one must diversify ones skills. If you harbor the dream of being a business executive, you need to hone your skills in each and every aspect of a business,” he says
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