IT Leadership Program

Develop your leadership capabilities to drive your organization forward in the use of IT

> Target audienceKey benefitsKey topicsMeet the staff

Most organizations today are fundamentally dependent on their IT systems. Few could survive for very long without them. It is worrying, then, that many leadership teams are also dissatisfied with the value and contribution that they perceive IT is making to their business. Blame is usually laid at the door of the company’s IT leader. ESMT research reveals that many are struggling with the kind of leadership necessary to drive their organizations forward in the use of digital technologies.

The English language program “IT Leadership Program” (ITL) provides the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to be a successful and dynamic IT leader. The underpinning philosophy of this program is that chief information officers (CIO) and IT directors are first and foremost business leaders, albeit with special responsibilities for IT.

By the end of the program, participants will have developed leadership capabilities that will help them to shape the strategic direction, drive innovation, and optimize value from digital investments. You will also have the confidence to operate effectively in the C-suite.

Scholarship Opportunities

To increase the number of female executives in IT, ESMT awards 1 partial scholarship and one ESMT/30% Club partial scholarship (value €4,450) for women in IT leadership positions. Exceptionally qualified and talented candidates might be eligible for the scholarships. Please get in contact with the ITL Program Director Prof. Joe Peppard.


Target audience

  • Executives with responsibility for IT
  • IT managers with leadership ambitions
  • Chief information officers
  • IT executives who seek an extra edge


Key benefits

  • expand knowledge and enhance personal performance as effective IT leaders
  • develop leadership capabilities, learn new essential skills and competencies
  • shape strategic direction, drive innovation, and optimize the value that organizations derive from IT
  • build a lifelong learning network


Key topics

  • Being a business-focused IT leader
  • Taking charge as an IT leader
  • Navigating an organization’s political landscape
  • Influencing and communicating with key stakeholders
  • Thinking strategically and having strategic conversations
  • Growing great performers and building leadership teams
  • Developing and aligning information, systems, and IT strategies with business drivers
  • Designing a workable IT governance structure
  • Defining business operating-models and enterprise architecture
  • Setting up and running projects that deliver real business benefits
  • Building and managing the IT investment portfolio
  • Tackling the leadership challenges of being a CIO



"This course was fantastic. I really appreciated the examples and explanations. I started using the handouts right away – absolutely helpful for senior management discussion."

Jens Riegel, Director IT and Process Management, Lohmann SE
"Mittelstand CIO of the Year, 2016"


Meet the teaching staff

Joe Peppard (Program Director)

is visiting professor at ESMT Berlin and Principal Research Scientist, Center for Information Systems Research at MIT Sloan School of Management. Additionally, he is an adjunct professor at the University of South Australia. Previously, he held the Chair in Information Systems at Cranfield School of Management – where he was also Director of the Information Systems Research Centre and led the IT Directors Forum – and has held academic positions at Loughborough University, Trinity College, Dublin, Groningen University, Politecnico di Milano, and University of Sydney. In 2011 he was the Dean’s Distinguished Scholar at the University of Southern Queensland.

With his reference discipline in information systems, Joe researches, teaches and consults in the domains of IT leadership, digital strategy and innovation, the execution of digital transformation programs and in the role, structure and capabilities of the IT unit in contemporary organizations. In an industry powered by FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) and where hype is all too commonplace, he seeks to help business and IT leaders make sense of it all and navigate an appropriate route through what is an increasingly complex landscape.

His research studies contemporary issues and challenges that mangers face in an environment of accelerating technological change. While academically rigorous, with his research he seeks to steer a pragmatic path. He recognizes that managers want frameworks and models to help them understand their own predicaments, insights to figure out options and consequences and clear actionable advice and guidance. While the majority of his academic colleagues write articles for promotion, tenure and academic prestige, Joe writes them to help the busy manager and executive to be successful. Findings from his studies have been published in leading journals such as European Journal of Information Systems, MIS Quarterly Executive, Journal of Information Technology, MIT Sloan Management Review, Harvard Business Review, International Journal of Information Management and Information Systems Journal. His most recent books include The Strategic Management of Information Systems: Building a Digital Strategy (Wiley) and Customer Relationship Management: Perspectives from the Marketplace (Butterworth-Heinemann). He is Associate Editor of the International Journal on IT/Business Alignment and Governance, an Editorial Board Member of European Management Journal, Journal of Strategic Information Systems and MIS Quarterly Executive.

In his consulting, Joe has worked closely with senior executives and Board members of large complex organizations in both public and private sectors advising them on IT and strategy related matters, leveraging information and on how to unlock business value from their IT investments. He also works with a number of technology companies helping them with their strategy, market positioning and growth. He mentors at a number of start-up accelerators in Berlin.

More information on IT Leadership

Video: Meet Joe Peppard
How CIOs can overcome tendencies towards introversion to become successful leaders
Leadership Mindsets for IT Success
Why chief information officers can struggle in a leadership role
Building CEO - CIO Partnerships
An overview of the IT investment portfolio
Why CIOs fail
Turning IT Managers into Business Leaders