The path to becoming a CIO or even CEO from an IT background has a lot to do with connecting the two vast worlds. IT is a very logic oriented field -- programming, database design, integrating various systems, etc. At its core, IT really is a huge black box that takes a lot of business inputs and then spits out out outputs that sales managers can use effectively.
Business thinking is more of an artform. There is a lot of politics involved in business. Anyone who has seen Dangerfield in "Back to School" can appreciate this.
The trick is to become that "someone" who can do that "input/output" on the fly. CIO's aren't CIO's because they know the most from an IT perspective. CIO's become such because of their ability to bridge the "business speak" with the "geek speak" in real-time.
If you have an appreciation for what your business is trying to do, you can offer suggestions and become a valuable resource to upper management. In time, you become a part of the C-rank executives.
The CEO isn't impressed with HOW IT does what it does, he's only concerned about the WHY and WHEN. He has a vision and it is the role of a CIO to help put into motion that vision using IT as a tool, not a means to an end.