New change, new roles, new C-suite?

The immediacy of the digital world demands a different approach, and part of this change entails exploring new leadership models. The article examines, in detail, the emergence of the chief information officer (CIO), chief commercial officer (CCO) and chief risk officer (CRO). Here are extracts from the article about the first two of these three roles.

A mindset for change: the digital-ready CIO

Long gone are the days when CIOs just manage help desks and data centers. A Forrester Research Inc. report found that CIOs are now viewed as the most important senior leaders in driving business transformation and innovation.

The impact of digitalization is pervasive across the enterprise and extends far beyond IT leadership roles.

Its survey of US and European business change consultants saw 29% cite the CIO as the prime mover, with 24% backing the CEO.*

EY research** shows that CIOs who will help lead their companies into the digital age need six core traits, including the following:

  • Be relentless innovators – seeing discovery and experimentation as necessary steps toward disruptive value creation
  • Focus on driving growth – and the relationships they need to support this
  • Be courageous risk-takers – celebrating successful failures as opportunities for learning and improvement

The rise of the chief commercial officer

The sales and marketing function is also being radically reconfigured, notably with the appearance of the role of chief commercial officer (CCO).

CCOs, as the title suggests, lead a company’s commercial functions. Sales and marketing form the cornerstones of the role, although some CCOs head additional departments, such as customer service, innovation, analytics strategy and R&D. The emergence of the CCO reflects businesses’ growing awareness of the need to integrate customer-facing operations. This need is, in great part, a direct product of digitalization: the informed customer who can easily flit between off-line and online sites demands a smooth purchasing journey and sees at a glance when companies falter. Companies must integrate all their operations, including sales and marketing, to deliver a truly differentiated and positive purchasing experience.

But, recent EY research shows the interaction between sales and marketing is still marked more by competition or passive coexistence than symbiosis. The CCO role could serve as a valuable bridge to cross the divide.

* M. Cecere, K. Kark and N. Wang, The CIO’s role in business transformation, Forrester Research, 2013.
** Born to be digital: how leading CIOs are preparing for a digital transformation, EY, 2014,, accessed August 2014.

The complete article was written by:

  • Woody Driggs
    EY Global Advisory Customer Leader
  • Keith B. Strier
    Partner, Performance Improvement, EY, US

Read the full articlepdf453.71 kB

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