Published on February 6, 2024, 6:25 am

IT executives are capitalizing on return journeys to former employers, bringing newfound leadership insights to familiar business issues. This trend of boomerang IT leaders, who leave a company, gain experience elsewhere, and then return in a higher tech leadership position, is gaining momentum.

One such example is Matt Postulka, who left Arbella Insurance Group as deputy CIO at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Postulka’s aspiration was to become a CIO, and he achieved it by landing a job as CIO and senior vice president of technology and operations at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. However, after two years at the bank, Postulka returned to Arbella as vice president and CIO.

Postulka’s decision to return was driven by his interest in doing something different and leading technology at a quasi-governmental entity. He saw an interesting opportunity to run a business operation and get his hands dirty in that aspect.

Kevin Miller also experienced a similar journey. He worked as a technical solutions architect at IFS Americas before leaving for Loftware in 2020. He felt that his role at IFS could potentially stagnate in its changing culture under new ownership. Moving to Loftware gave him an opportunity to go retool another team. However, just over a year later, Miller returned to IFS as an associate vice president and is now CTO of the Americas.

Miller’s return was prompted by his desire for a fresh perspective on something different. His time at Loftware exposed him to different methodologies and technologies for demonstrating software products. This experience made him better suited for the CTO role because it gave him exposure to diverse situations and customers, leading him to develop creative approaches to problem-solving.

Both Postulka and Miller emphasize the importance of considering one’s career goals when contemplating returning to a former employer in a higher-level IT position. It is crucial to assess whether the culture and consistent threads that appealed to you in the past will continue to be an enabler for your growth and success.

Returning IT leaders can bring valuable insights and experiences from their time away, but it’s also important to acknowledge that organizations evolve. Previous relationships may help them quickly get up to speed, but assumptions about the current culture should be checked to avoid any derailments.

For Postulka, returning to Arbella was not a backward move. Instead, it presented an opportunity to shape and build something for himself and for an organization he cared deeply about. He credits both organizations with teaching him the importance of building connections and relationships and being patient while listening to others’ perspectives. These leadership principles have been critical to his success as a CIO.

In conclusion, boomerang IT leaders are making a significant impact by bringing their acquired insights and experiences from other organizations back to their former employers. Their ability to adapt quickly due to previous relationships within the organization can be beneficial, but they must also remain open-minded about cultural transformations that might have occurred during their absence. Returning IT leaders like Matt Postulka and Kevin Miller demonstrate how these journeys can lead to personal growth, fresh perspectives, and the opportunity to effect positive change within familiar settings.</p

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