Chief Information Officers (CIOs) may be among the most important-and most underappreciated-executives in a company’s talent pool.

They normally have three critical responsibilities. First, they’re responsible for acquiring fresh information on their company for both internal and external consumption-information on such matters as company performance, product safety, personnel issues, and acquisitions. Second, they’re expected to show all that information in such a way that people’s impressions of the company are positive. Third, they must ensure that the information that gets disseminated does not violate insider-trading laws.