Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Is there space in the boardroom for the CDO?

There's loads of discussion online and in companies generally about the role of the CDO - the Chief Digital Officer.

The traditional 'C Suite' must be getting pretty anxious these days, with a new CxO role being suggested as one of their members everywhere they turn.

The list of new senior roles appearing more recently includes:

  • CMO : Chief Marketing Officer
  • CIO: Chief Information Officer
  • CXO: Chief Experience Officer
  • CSO: Chief Strategy Officer

One does wonder if there will be enough seats around the boardroom table to accommodate all these new executives (or more cynically, if there will be anyone left to do the work).

Russell Reynolds, an Executive Search firm describes the Chief Digital Officer role as having the following capabilities:

  • Able to plan and execute long-term strategy around driving customer awareness, engagement, experience and monetization. 
  • Familiarisation with web, mobile and social media and possibly local as well. 
  • Experience in developing new channels and business models, as well as innovative products and services. 
  • Tech savvy, with the ability to manage developers and ask the right questions

However, what I would add to this list is the ability to operate and communicate as the Exec level. There's no point an appointed CDO having all the technical skills and knowledge if they do not have gravitas or the ability to put forward their points eloquently to their senior level peers.

The boardroom seating plan may be getting squeezed, but as businesses evolve and develop... can any major organisation afford not to have digital representation at the top level?
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