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Mon 26 Jan 2009 04:00 AM

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Winter wonderland

Secret CIO takes a long overdue holiday.

After last month's physical altercation with the CEO, I'm pleased to report that I'm more or less fully healed.

It's also given me the splendid opportunity to take my annual leave right afterwards (in addition to labelling my hospital stay as a business trip, so I can claim expenses). As always though, the job of the CIO never seems to be done - so this column is being written on my BlackBerry on the whitest beach I could find in the Maldives. Why, if the weather's right, I might deign to do some work later.

Even if there wasn't any leave due, I would have vanished on some kind of business trip regardless. Anything to escape all this endless, boring talk about the credit crunch. I couldn't even escape it on the plane down here - the gormless couple behind me were locked in battle trying to top each other in finding the direst headlines and most foreboding predictions available in their respective newspapers.

At one point, I got up, turned around and gave them the most pointed glare I could muster coupled with the strongest obscenity I could recall - only to discover that that the couple were in fact the biggest stockholders in my firm on their annual vacation. And if they didn't remember me before, they certainly do now.

But anyway, let's move on, before talk of my CV writing becomes a bore. When it comes to the credit crunch, I would like to draw everyone's attention to one simple fact - solutions, people! All these lazy "journalists" seem to do is get paid to sit around and pontificate endlessly about where the financial crisis came from and how big the footprint of the fallout will be (and other random nuclear adjectives).

To which I say: Phoeey. Show me some actual ways and means of digging ourselves out of this hole and I'll happily approve and steal - sorry, be "inspired" - the best idea of the lot.

What's that you say - why don't I come up with some kind of solution - after all, isn't it my job to be ready for any and all crisises that can occur? Why, that's preposterous. How can you expect a CIO to predict the future? Believe me, it's a 24/7 job trying to manage the present.

And anyway, it was the endless, wasteful unchecked spending of large enterprises that got us here in the first place so I really fail to see why I should be in charge of the solution. No, I cheerfully throw my hands up and admit that my CFO is completely responsible for our current predicament. He should step down immediately as a show of good faith.

Hang on, what's this? It looks like some disgruntled member of my team - and they are legion - has managed to lay his sweaty hands on a copy of the employee compensation records. He's now delivered an unusually well-written screed about how the board seems to be making out like bandits in the midst of turbulent times, how compensation levels for the staff haven't risen since the 90s - it goes on and on and just makes my head hurt to read it.

I'm particularly affronted by his naming me as the "chief Fagin" of this "Gang of Thieves", based on the sole fact that my pay has jumped 700% since becoming CIO. The only logical conclusion one could infer from that information is that I was grossly underpaid before as deputy CIO and this was simply a matter of putting things right.

This was starting to ruin my lovely business holiday - and never let it be said that I'm not a man of action. So the first thing I do when I get back will to be investigate these totally spurious claims and then embark on an aggressive cost cutting campaign. Beginning with say, a 70% reduction in manpower in the IT department.

You can guess who'll be first for the chop.

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