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1997-10-22 13:18:17


Suing the CIO: The Exodus Will Begin in 1998



This story in COMPUTERWORLD (Oct. 20) highlights two crucial problems: the transfer of bad data to compliant systems and the threat of legal liability facing CIO's: chief information officers.

My conclusion: the y2k problem is systemic. It cannot be repaired. Those who are called on to repair it are threatened with personal dusaster if their repairs fail. The wise ones will quit long before 2000. That will doom the system.

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Can a chief information officer be held liable if the company is sued for failing to become year 2000-compliant? The answer is yes if the CIO is considered an officer under a company's bylaws or articles of incorporation, or if the firm's directors sign contracts affirmatively authorizing officers, according to litigation attorney Steven Brower and consultant Warren S. Reid, both of California.

But even if a CIO is not called an officer in any document, he or she could still be liable, Brower and Reid wrote in a recent report. The report, "Year 2000 Computing Crisis," published by the Atlanta-based Information Management Forum, cites Los Angeles cyber lawyer Richard L. Bernacchi.

He says if a CIO is involved with corporate strategic planning; is allowed to make spending decisions of at least $1 million on hardware, software and outsourcing; and usually gains senior management's approval for his recommendations, then the CIO may well be considered an officer.


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