CIO50 2011: What IT leaders get up to outside the office

Tech chiefs have a passion for everything from jungle music to skydiving...

Cycling: CIO50 2011

Cycling is a popular pastime among this year's CIO50Photo: D'Arcy Norman

The IT leaders on this year's CIO50 list take their spare time almost as seriously as they do their work, engaging in everything from skydiving to arresting crooks.

Many of their activities outside of work sound like a full-time job in themselves, including running a boat-building company, renovating a 350-year-old house and serving as a special constable with the Metropolitan Police.

Contrary to the geek stereotype, they're no couch potatoes - with CIOs listing cycling, swimming and even skydiving among their hobbies. IT chief Gideon Kay, group CIO at LGC, takes sporting activity to the next level by competing in triathlons.

Meanwhile, Department for Culture, Media and Sport CIO Mark O'Neill takes the prize for the most eclectic pastime, indulging his passion for writing about arts and music by covering everyone from Russian avant-garde artist Lyubov Popova to Hackney jungle group The Ragga Twins.

This year's bunch are also serious about helping others, with several CIOs raising money for charity and Richard Thwaite, CIO for UBS Global Asset Management, having been shortlisted for a Disability Champion Award.

And while they may be among the best in their field today, this year's CIO50 have taken very different routes to become IT leaders, starting out studying physics, biochemistry, robotics, engineering and even philosophy.

Heading up the IT department also represents something of a departure from some CIOs' early careers, such as Nic Bellenberg, IT director at publisher Hachette Filipacchi UK, who spent four years as a writer and editor, and Jaguar Land Rover CIO Jeremy Vincent, who served as an engineering officer in the Royal Navy.

As the CIO50 goes to show, there's no such a thing as an average CIO.