Many people probably know who the CEO is or who the CFO is, but there are a number of other positions in the corporate hierarchy, the abbreviation of which may be incomprehensible to most people. In this article, we will look at the key positions used in business area:
CA (Chief Architect) – in information technology (IT), a chief architect is a c-level executive whose job is to look closely at how IT functions can be centralized so that departments across the company can work together seamlessly. The chief architect may also be called the enterprise architect (EA).
Infrastructure design can have a big effect on the performance of an IT organization, and the chief architect plays a critical role in building or buying the technology that will help an enterprise meet its business goals. To that end, the chief architect is responsible for solving integration problems and synching technology frameworks across the organization’s business units.
The role of every architect in IT is directly related to the added complexities of information technology and the need for a top-down approach to managing and sharing data and processes. The chief architect role requires a wealth of both process and technical knowledge about security, storage, data management and network service delivery. Depending upon the organization, the chief architect may oversee and coordinate the efforts of other technology-specific architects, including the chief security architect, the chief data architect, the chief mobile architect and the chief cloud architect.
Chief Audit Executive
CAE (Chief Audit Executive) – the chief audit executive (CAE), director of audit, director of internal audit, auditor general, or controller general is a high-level independent corporate executive with overall responsibility for internal audit.
Publicly traded corporations typically have an internal audit department, led by a chief audit executive (“CAE“) who reports functionally to the audit committee of the board of directors, with administrative reporting to the chief executive officer.
The profession is unregulated, though there are a number of international standard setting bodies, an example of which is the Institute of Internal Auditors (“IIA”). The IIA has established Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing and has over 150,000 members representing 165 countries, including approximately 65,000 Certified Internal Auditors.
The CAE is intrinsically an independent function; otherwise it may become dysfunctional and of low quality (but there are many degrees in the level of independence and efficiency). The CAE function exists only to constitute a third-level of control in the organisation, which must be independent from the first-level control (the first-level layer belongs to the management of an organisation, who is responsible in the first instance for acting in compliance with the organisation’s rules) and consecutively second-level (which are the supporting units i.e. legal, HR, risk function, financial control etc.). An effective independence is the result of both an attitude of CAE, and of prerogatives/guarantees conceded by the organisation or given by the organisation’s principals (e.g., the board of directors or audit committee).
Because the CAE understands risks and controls, company strategy and the regulatory environment the CAE may assume additional organizational responsibilities beyond traditional internal auditing.
Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer
CAIO (Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer) — Artificial intelligence has wide-reaching implications across all aspects of the business, and now some leaders in the field advocate for this technology to be represented in the C-suite by a chief artificial intelligence officer (CAIO).
The CAIO will work closely with the CTO and CIO to spearhead new innovative solutions or enhancements to existing products by applying machine learning or deep learning technologies across all aspects of the business. This executive position will oversee major strategic initiatives, including:
- Identifying opportunities internally to improve our customer experience across our products and solutions with machine learning.
- Evangelizing our A.I.-first approach to clients, cultivating new business partnerships within our machine learning initiatives.
- Reducing capital expenditures throughout the business by locating cost centers and minimizing their impact with machine learning.
- Building a cohesive data strategy that lacks silos and enables deep learning technologies to create new competitive insights.
- Locating/acquiring and cultivating strong data science and A.I.-specialized talent in the industry.
A CAIO can let organizations recognize the various ways data can be utilized. A company with CAIO is successful in finding out the latest methods to obtain results with the data. With in-depth know-how about AI, data science, and Machine learning concepts, CAIO will be able to drive the strategies required to analyze and implement the intelligence in the business processes.
Chief Academic Officer
CAO (Chief Academic Officer) — is the senior academic administrator at many institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada and the equivalent of a deputy vice-chancellor at some institutions in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia. Additionally, the heads of certain colleges of universities in the UK and Ireland are called provosts; the term is, used in this sense, the equivalent of a Master or Principal (and various like terms) at other colleges. The specific duties and areas of responsibility for a CAO vary from one institution to another, but usually include supervision and oversight of curricular, instructional, and research affairs.
Chief Accounting Officer
CAO (Chief Accounting Officer) — a chief accounting officer, sometimes referred to as a vice president of accounting, is a senior executive who manages all accounting functions in an organization. They hold top-level responsibility for the effective operation of accounting, from precise bookkeeping to tax and regulatory compliance. They also help a company set its long-term strategic financial planning.
A chief accounting officer has many responsibilities related to the accounting functions within their organization. They lead a team of finance professionals to meticulously maintain important day-to-day financial operations and ensure the company’s financial health. The CAO typically works alongside the CFO and reports directly to top management, such as the CEO and the board of directors. Some of their important duties include:
- Tax compliance: A CAO maintains awareness and conformity to all federal, state, local and corporate laws and policies.
- Financial reporting: A CAO issues quarterly financial reports and other SEC documents. They assemble summary financial statements to interpret a company’s current and projected financial position. They also prepare documents for annual financial review.
- Financial analysis and budgeting: A CAO prepares financial statements and reports to help interpret current company financial position. They also direct a monthly closing procedure and manage various accounting procedures.
- Management of ledger and financial accounts: A CAO audits accounts for errors and corrects any inconsistencies. They monitor the general ledger accounting for compliance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), other industry best practices and company guidelines. They also coordinate and help with internal and external audits during financial and operation audits.
- Long-range strategic financial planning: A CAO manages capital assets, including tax planning and compliance. They also develop cost control systems and evaluate current accounting practices with a mindset of improvement.
Chief Administrative Officer
CAO (Chief Administrative Officer) — is a top-tier executive who supervises the daily operations of an organization and is ultimately responsible for its performance. A CAO is responsible for administrative management of private, public or governmental organizations and the de facto head of the organization. In a municipal context, the title is usually used as an alternative for city manager, county administrator, or county executive, particularly in cases where the position does not include powers such as the authority to appoint or dismiss department heads.
In the United Kingdom, CAOs of public companies must be chartered secretaries (Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators), lawyers, certified/chartered accountants, or others with equivalent experience.
The CAO is one of the highest-ranking members of an organization, managing daily operations and usually reporting directly to the chief executive officer. In some companies, the CAO is also the president. It is very similar to a chief operating officer but is not the same as a chief executive officer, which is a more senior title in for-profit corporations. It is typical for a company that does not manufacture a physical product to have a CAO in place of a COO, particularly in technology organizations.
Chief Analytics Officer
CAO (Chief Analytics Officer) — is a job title for the senior manager responsible for the analysis of data within an organization, such as a listed company or an educational institution. The CAO often reports to the chief executive officer. This position, along with that of chief information officer has risen to prominence due to the rise in information technology and data acquisition. The two positions are similar in that both deal with information, but the CIO focuses on the infrastructure required for maintaining and communicating information while the CAO focuses on the infrastructure required for generating and analyzing information. A similar position is that of the chief data officer (CDO); while the CDO focuses on data processing and maintenance, the CAO focuses on providing input into operational decisions on the basis of the analysis. As such, the CAO requires experience in statistical analysis and marketing, finance, or operations. The CAO may be a member of the board of directors of the organization, but this is dependent on the type of organization.
Chief Business Development Officer
CBDO (Chief Business Development Officer) — is a position within a company established beside the other executive positions reporting to CEO and COO. The title is used to define a high-ranking position alongside the CEO. The CBDO is expected to have a broad and comprehensive knowledge of all matters related to the business of the organization with an eye towards identifying new sales prospects and driving business growth and requirements for product development that will be coordinated with R&D functions. Responsibilities can include:
- Elaborate business development plans, design and implement processes to support business growth, through customer and market definition.
- Facilitate business growth by working together with clients as well as business partners (suppliers, subcontractors, JV partners, technology providers, etc.).
- Build and maintain high-level contacts with current and prospective customer and other business and project partners.
- Drive prospects through to contract award (including identifying new customers and markets, developing approaches to the market, identifying prospects, proposal preparation, etc.).
- Develop marketing strategy, manage proposal teams and client account managers.
Develop Applications and other Systems.
Chief Business Officer
CBO (Chief Business Officer) — is the position of the top operating executive of growing commercial companies or an academic/research institution (such as a university, college, institute, or teaching hospital). In the commercial space, CBO shows leadership in deal making experience with a clear record of results and ultimate transactional responsibility. In higher education, the titles of vice president, associate dean, assistant dean, and director are also used for the role of the chief business officer.
In the biotechnology, information technology, and emerging innovation industries, the chief business officers assume full management responsibility for the company’s deal making, provides leadership and execute a deal strategy that will allow the company to fulfill its scientific/technology mission and build shareholder value, provides managerial guidance to the company’s product development staff as needed. Reporting directly to the Board of Directors and/or the CEO of the company, CBO sometimes has a dual role as a chief commercial officer and chief strategy officer. Often this position is created to complement a CEO whose strength and experience is concentrated mainly in product and technology.
Chief Brand Officer
CBO (Chief Brand Officer) — is a relatively new executive-level position at a corporation, company, organization, or agency, which typically reports to the CEO or board of directors and is responsible for a brand’s image, experience, and promise. The brand officer oversees marketing, advertising, design, public relations, and customer service.
Chief brand officers may also be known as chief marketing officers. They are professionals who have extensive experience in the fields of marketing or advertising. Instead of focusing on specific ad campaigns, a chief brand officer is responsible for developing a company’s brand, which can be represented through slogans, visual materials and brand names. They use this brand as a way of creating a relationship with consumers. When branding is effective, people refer to the product by the brand name instead of what it is. For example, some people talk about getting the latest Mac instead of getting a new computer because they are invested in the Apple Mac computer products.
In addition to developing a brand’s image and maintaining the desired public perception of that brand as part of the company’s marketing strategy, a chief brand officer might be responsible for expanding a brand to new audiences, ensuring customer service and other business activities align with the brand image or modifying the brand to reposition a company within the market.
Сhief Commercial Officer
CCO (Сhief Commercial Officer) — the chief commercial officer (sometime referred to as the chief business officer) is an executive-level role, with the holder being responsible for the commercial strategy and the development of an organization. It typically involves activities relating to marketing, sales, product development and customer service to drive business growth and market share. As a corporate officer position, the CCO generally reports directly to the chief executive officer (CEO) and is primarily concerned with ensuring the integrated commercial success of an organization. The role typically must combine technical knowledge of the relevant field with strong marketing and business development skills.
Essentially, a CCO takes ownership of the customer and the customer interface with the product or service offering, making sure that all functions of the organization are aligned to meet its strategic commercial objectives. This means that they are closely linked to the organization’s strategic management function, in drafting, implementing and evaluating cross-functional decisions that will enable an organization to achieve its long-term objectives.
Сhief Communications Officer
CCO (Сhief Communications Officer) — or corporate communications officer (CCO) or public relations officer (PRO) is a C-suite level officer responsible for communications, public relations, and/or public affairs in an organization. Typically, the CCO of a corporation reports to the chief executive officer (CEO). The CCO may hold an academic degree in communications.
The CCO of a company is the corporate officer primarily responsible for managing the communications risks and opportunities of a business, both internally and externally. This executive is typically responsible for communications to a wide range of stakeholders, including employees, shareholders, media, bloggers, influential members of the business community, the press, the community and the public. Typically, the CCO may partner with others in the organization to communicate with investors, analysts, customers and company Board members. Most organizations will rely on the CCO to advise and participate in decisions that may impact the ongoing reputation of the firm.
Сhief Compliance Officer
CCO (Сhief Compliance Officer) — is primarily responsible for overseeing compliance within an organization, and ensuring compliance with laws, regulatory requirements, policies, and procedures.
As the compliance leader and subject matter expert, the CCO is responsible for establishing standards and implementing procedures to ensure that the compliance programs throughout the organization are effective and efficient in identifying, preventing, detecting, and correcting noncompliance with applicable laws and regulations.
The CCO has to provide reasonable assurance to senior management and the Board that there are effective and efficient policies and procedures in place, well understood and respected by all employees, and that the company is complying with all regulatory requirements.
Сhief Content Officer
CCO (Сhief Content Officer) — is a corporate executive responsible for the digital media creation and multi-channel publication of the organization’s content (text, video, audio, animation, etc.). The CCO is usually an executive role or senior vice president position, typically reporting to the chief executive officer or the president of the organization.
In a broadcasting organisation, the CCO is generally the highest ranking creative member of the organization. However, the chief content officer position is also common in many other industries, ranging from insurance to video production based on a LinkedIn study. Like all other chief officers, the chief content officer is responsible for supervision, coordination, planning and operation in his or her own field of responsibility. The CCO may also lead a company’s branding and marketing efforts (as it relates to content), if these areas are not overseen by a chief marketing officer. In certain businesses which are involved in media creation such as Netflix, a CCO is responsible for developing original programming.
Сhief Creative Officer
CCO (Сhief Creative Officer) — is the highest ranking position of the creative team within a company. Depending on the type of company, this position may be responsible for the overall look and feel of marketing, media, and branding associated with the organization. The CCO may also be charged with managing, developing, and leading the team of creative directors, art directors, designers, and copywriters.
The CCO directs a company’s creative output, developing the artistic design strategy that defines the company’s brand. The CCO creates the unique image of the firm and deliver this distinctive design to consumers and to create a clear brand image which is a fundamental and essential work throughout the company. Advertisements present a certain memorable artistic design while also structured to accomplish functional goals. The CCO ensures that the design and functionality combine harmoniously so the firm can present a product that successfully represents its creative brand.
Сhief Customer Officer
CCO (Сhief Customer Officer) — is the executive responsible in customer-centric companies for the total relationship with an organization’s customers. This position was developed to provide a single vision across all methods of customer contact. The CCO is often responsible for influencing corporate activities of customer relations in the call centre, sales, marketing, user interface, finance (billing), fulfillment and post-sale support. The CCO typically reports to the chief executive officer, and is potentially a member of the board of directors.
Сhief Data Officer
CDO (Сhief Data Officer) — is a corporate officer responsible for enterprise-wide governance and utilization of information as an asset, via data processing, analysis, data mining, information trading and other means. CDOs usually report to the chief executive officer (CEO), although depending on the area of expertise this can vary. The CDO is a member of the executive management team and manager of enterprise-wide data processing and data mining.
The chief data officer title shares its abbreviation with the chief digital officer, but the two are not the same job. The chief data officer has a significant measure of business responsibility for determining what kinds of information the enterprise will choose to capture, retain and exploit and for what purposes. However, the similar-sounding chief digital officer or chief digital information officer often does not bear that business responsibility, but rather is responsible for the information systems through which data is stored and processed. A chief data officer’s purpose is to connect the technological results to the needed business results.
Various other roles entail having an understanding of the business value. It means using data to derive business outcome. It can be achieved by knowing the team members and activities performed, the stakeholder values and understanding customer needs. Some responsibilities include the governance, advising & monitoring enterprise data. In terms of operations it means enabling data usability along with efficiency and availability. They have to innovate which means driving the business towards digital transformation innovation, cost reduction, and revenue generation. Their role is also to provide supporting analytics with reports on products, customers, operations, and markets. They need to protect the data and eliminate data territorialism while also promoting data ethics.
Сhief Design Officer
CDO (Сhief Design Officer) — or design executive officer (DEO), is a corporate title sometimes given to an executive in charge of an organization’s design initiatives. The CDO is typically responsible for overseeing all design and innovation aspects of a company’s products and services, including product design, architectural design, graphic design, user experience design, industrial design, and package design. They may also be responsible for aspects of advertising, marketing, and engineering.
The position has emerged only recently, with chief design officers taking on roles that may have previously been assumed by a chief marketing officer, chief product officer, chief brand officer or delegated to lower-ranking design executives. As with many other CxO roles it does not necessarily mean the role reports to the CEO. In some companies the title is in name only and does not actually mean the role holder is an executive. Some companies – such as IBM have many CDOs as executives of major divisions within the corporation.
Сhief Digital Officer
CDO (Сhief Digital Officer) — or a chief digital information officer (CDIO) is an individual who helps a company, a government organization or a city drive growth by converting traditional “analog” businesses to digital ones using the potential of modern online technologies and data (i.e., digital transformation), and at times oversees operations in the rapidly changing digital sectors like mobile applications, social media and related applications, virtual goods, as well as web-based information management and marketing.
The responsibilities of an organization’s CDO are varied and still evolving as the future of a CIO for digital businesses. The CDO is not only a digital expert, but may also be a seasoned general manager. As the role frequently is transformational, CDOs generally are responsible for the adoption of digital technologies across a business. As with most senior executive titles, the responsibilities are set by the organization’s board of directors or other authority, depending on the organization’s legal structure. The CDO is responsible not just for digital consumer experiences across all business touch points, but also for the whole process of digital transformation.
Сhief Diversity Officer
CDO (Сhief Diversity Officer) — is an organization’s executive level diversity and inclusion strategist, whose job may include, but is not limited to, addressing discrimination in the workplace, launching initiative to change organizational culture, and increasing the range of backgrounds and the representation of various groups in staff, volunteers, and/ or management. Roughly 52% of Fortune 500 companies employ diversity officers.
Chief Engineering Officer
CEngO (Chief Engineering Officer) — is the highest ranking engineer within a company’s engineering department. They are responsible for leading a team of engineers to complete projects. They work closely with other engineers and technicians to safely and effectively complete projects on schedule. Chief engineers work in a variety of different industries, including manufacturing companies, engineering, architectural companies, government organizations, scientific research and developmental services, and within the management department of enterprise companies.
Chief Executive Officer
CEO (Chief Executive Officer) — a chief executive officer (CEO), chief administrator officer (CAO), central executive officer (CEO), or just chief executive (CE), is one of a number of corporate executives charged with the management of an organization – especially an independent legal entity such as a company or nonprofit institution. CEOs find roles in a range of organizations, including public and private corporations, non-profit organizations and even some government organizations (notably state-owned enterprises). The CEO of a corporation or company typically reports to the board of directors and is charged with maximizing the value of the business, which may include maximizing the share price, market share, revenues or another element. In the non-profit and government sector, CEOs typically aim at achieving outcomes related to the organization’s mission, usually provided by legislation. CEO’s are also frequently assigned the role of main manager of the organization and the highest ranking officer in the C-suite.
Chief Financial Officer
CFO (Chief Financial Officer) — is an officer of a company or organization that is assigned the primary responsibility for managing the company’s finances, including financial planning, management of financial risks, record-keeping, and financial reporting. In some sectors, the CFO is also responsible for analysis of data. Some CFOs have the title CFOO for chief financial and operating officer. In the majority of countries, finance directors (FD) typically report into the CFO and FD is the level before reaching CFO. The CFO typically reports to the chief executive officer (CEO) and the board of directors and may additionally have a seat on the board. The CFO supervises the finance unit and is the chief financial spokesperson for the organization. The CFO directly assists the chief operating officer (COO) on all business matters relating to budget management, cost–benefit analysis, forecasting needs, and securing of new funding.
Chief Gaming Officer
CGO (Chief Gaming Officer) — is an executive position whose holder is focused on research and technical issues within a computer game company. The chief gaming officer or chief game officer is in charge of heading both the game development and the online/offline publishing functions of the company.
The CGO has authority to manage the online game production cycle from start to finish. As head of game development, he or she is solely responsible for the conceptualization and planning of new games, the budget allocations to different gaming projects, the budget allocation within each game, assembling a team of software developers and game designers, and ultimately, the approval of new games.
Chief Human Resources officer
CHRO (Chief Human Resources officer) — or chief people officer (CPO) is a corporate officer who oversees all aspects of human resource management and industrial relations policies, practices and operations for an organization. Similar job titles include: chief people officer, chief personnel officer, executive vice president of human resources and senior vice president of human resources.
Roles and responsibilities of a typical CHRO can be categorized as follows: workforce strategist, organizational and performance conductor, HR service delivery owner, compliance and governance regulator, and coach and adviser to the senior leadership team and the board of directors. CHROs may also be involved in board member selection and orientation, executive compensation, and succession planning. In addition, functions such as communications, facilities, public relations and related areas may fall within the scope of the CHRO role. Increasingly, CHROs report directly to chief executive officers and are members of the most senior-level committees of a company (e.g., executive committee or office of the CEO).
Chief Innovation Officer
CINO (Chief Innovation Officer) or Chief Technology Innovation Officer (CTIO) is a person in a company who is primarily responsible for managing the process of innovation and change management in an organization, as well as being in some cases the person who “originates new ideas but also recognizes innovative ideas generated by other people”. The CINO also manages technological change.
A chief technology innovation officer (CTIO) is focused on the organizational innovation through technology. This is an important strategic position especially in an organization that has significant technology component in addition to the traditional information technology. This position is typically held by a person with a broad technical expertise in that organization’s industry.
The title chief technology innovation officer is commonly used in the organizations that have a technology component as a part of its core business. The CTIO is responsible for maintaining organizational technological strategy, defining the requirements for new technology implementations and communicating them to key business stakeholders.
The CTIO is responsible for organizational leadership on technology issues, management of the technology research and review function, ensuring the alignment of technology vision with business strategy, and for driving technology innovation throughout the entire organization. The position can also be responsible for tracking new technology developments in areas of interest to the organization to ensure that it maintains a technological edge within the industry, analyzing and improving upon technology standards and maintaining organizational awareness of new technologies.
Chief Information Officer
CIO (Chief Information Officer) — or chief digital information officer (CDIO) or information technology (IT) director, is a job title commonly given to the most senior executive in an enterprise who works with information technology and computer systems, in order to support enterprise goals. The chief information officer of an organization is responsible for several business functions. First and most importantly, the CIO must fulfill the role of a business leader. The CIO makes executive decisions regarding matters such as the purchase of IT equipment from suppliers or the creation of new IT systems. Also as a business leader, the CIO is responsible for leading and directing the workforce of their specific organization. A CIO is typically “required to have strong organizational skills.” This is particularly relevant for the chief information officer of an organization who must balance roles and responsibilities in order to gain a competitive advantage, whilst keeping the best interests of the organization’s employees in mind. CIOs also have the responsibility of recruiting, so it is important that they work proactively to source and nurture the best employees possible.
Chief Investment Officer
CIO (Chief Investment Officer) — is a job title for the board level head of investments within an organization. The CIO’s purpose is to understand, manage, and monitor their organization’s portfolio of assets, devise strategies for growth, act as the liaison with investors, and recognize and avoid serious risks, including those never before encountered. Whenever the role of the chief investment officer is active within an insurance company (either life or non-life) and/or pension fund, the role is to manage and coordinate the investment, liquidity (treasury) and/or asset liability management (ALM) in order to optimize investment performance within the risk appetite as defined by actuarial studies (“Asset Liability Management” (ALM)) of risk management guidelines. The role of a chief investment officer within a corporate pension organization is similar, although the end-goal for the chief investment officer is often not profit, but matching the organization’s pension assets with its pension liabilities. Chief investment officers at endowments and foundations also consider the liabilities of the organization, with an added focus on liquidity and alternative assets.
Chief Information Security Officer
CISO (Chief Information Security Officer) — is a senior-level executive within an organization responsible for establishing and maintaining the enterprise vision, strategy, and program to ensure information assets and technologies are adequately protected. The CISO directs staff in identifying, developing, implementing, and maintaining processes across the enterprise to reduce information and information technology (IT) risks. They respond to incidents, establish appropriate standards and controls, manage security technologies, and direct the establishment and implementation of policies and procedures. The CISO is also usually responsible for information-related compliance (e.g. supervises the implementation to achieve ISO/IEC 27001 certification for an entity or a part of it). The CISO is also responsible for protecting proprietary information and assets of the company, including the data of clients and consumers. CISO works with other executives to make sure the company is growing in a responsible and ethical manner.
Chief Information Technology Officer
CITO (Chief Information Technology Officer) — establishes and directs the strategic long-term goals, policies and procedures for an information technology department. Determines an organization’s long-term systems needs and any hardware acquisitions needed to accomplish the organization’s business objectives. Chief Information Technology Officer typically reports to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or the Chief Operating Officer (COO). Responsible for the development of functional or business unit strategy for the entire organization. Defines corporate vision and strategy establishes company direction and focus. Executes multiple high impact initiatives to achieve overall corporate goals.
Chief Knowledge Officer
CKO (Chief Knowledge Officer) — is a loosely defined role in some organizations that achieved some prominence during the 1990s and 2000s that supervises knowledge management. In general, their duties involve intellectual capital and organizing preservation and distribution of knowledge in an organization. The position sometimes overlaps with the title of “chief information officer”; CIOs tend to be more focused on information technology within an organization (computer systems and the like), while CKOs have more nebulous portfolios including matters such as overseeing patent applications, internal training and documentation, knowledge sharing, and promoting innovative research. By the 2010s, the role became less common; while knowledge management programs are still an important part of corporations and other organizations, a direct officer called Chief Knowledge Officer has fallen out of favor somewhat.
Chief Legal Officer
CLO (Chief Legal Officer) — is often a publicly-traded company’s most powerful legal executive. The chief legal officer (CLO) is an expert and leader who helps the company minimize its legal risks by advising the company’s other officers and board members on any major legal and regulatory issues the company confronts, such as litigation risks. The CLO may also be a member of the company’s operating committee and is overseen by the CEO. The CLO oversees the company’s in-house attorneys.
The structure of each company can vary and the specific duties of the CLO role may not be the same at each organization. The position can include keeping the executive leadership informed of new or changing laws that may affect or relate to their operations and industry. The CLO might also establish curriculum programs if necessary for employees who need to understand legal matters and protocols that relate to their roles or the company’s operations.
Chief Learning Officer
CLO (Chief Learning Officer) — is the highest-ranking corporate officer in charge of learning management. CLOs may be experts in corporate or personal training, with degrees in education, instructional design, business or similar fields. Qualified CLOs should be able to drive the corporate strategy and align the development of people with the business goals of the organization. A full complement of skills, including business analytics, technology, learning theory, performance consulting and scientific inquiry, are important for success. The CLO may report directly to the CEO, but may also report to the Head of HR or Chief Talent Officer.
Chief Marketing Officer
CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) — also called a global marketing officer or marketing director, is a corporate executive responsible for managing marketing activities in an organization. Whilst historically these titles may have signified a legal responsibility, for example at Companies House in the UK, the titles are less strict/formal in the 21st Century and allow companies to acknowledge the evolving and increasingly significant role that marketers can play in an organisation, not least because of the inherent character of successful marketers. The CMO leads brand management, marketing communications (including advertising, promotions and public relations), market research, product marketing, distribution channel management, pricing, customer success, and customer service. The CMO is responsible for facilitating growth, sales and marketing strategy. They must work towards objectives such as revenue generation, cost reduction, or risk mitigation. The unpredictable effect of marketing efforts, coupled with the need to drive profits, often leads to a short tenure for most CMOs.
Chief Medical Officer
CMO (Chief Medical Officer) — is the title used in many countries for the senior government official designated head of medical services, sometimes at the national level. The post is held by a physician who serves to advise and lead a team of medical experts on matters of public health importance. The equivalent title may go under different names across countries, for example, the Surgeon General in the United States and the Chief Public Health Officer in Canada. By extension, chief medical officer is also used as a job title, for the physician who is the professional lead of all physicians at a hospital.
Chief Networking Officer
CNO (Chief Networking Officer) — is a business networking position in a company or organization. The term refers less commonly to a technical executive position in the computer industry. The CNO connects people and businesses within the company, with other companies, and with consumers. The CNO’s mission is to facilitate know-how transfer and information flow, fostering innovation, safeguarding diversity, and facilitating profit growth. Chief networking officers are responsible for creation and cultivation of new communities and acquisition of pre-existing communities.
The Chief Networking Officer centrally manages the business networks’ environment. Their responsibility is to solve conflicts in ways that serve mutual best interests. The CNO is a direct contact, although not primary, and should be able to assume the management of any partnership with any stakeholders during primary network manager absence. This professional maps out and organizes all resources available inside the network, i.e., contacts, experiences, success stories, knowledge, competences and business opportunities. They set up long-term partnerships with mutually beneficial gains with each stakeholder inside all business networks.
Chief Nursing Officer
CNO (Chief Nursing Officer) — an experienced nurse who helps manage finances, enforce policies, and connect patients with the care they need. CNOs, sometimes called Directors of Nursing, ensure everything is working properly within a nursing unit. While they do not work directly with patients, they have the final say on how patients receive treatment prescribed by their medical teams.
CNOs serve as a voice for all nurses within their organization. They collaborate with their team of nurses to make sure everyone under their management aligns to the mission, values, and vision of the healthcare organization they represent.
The responsibilities of a CNO can include:
- Leading all nursing staff toward immediate and long-term success by improving patient outcomes at their facility
- Evaluating the performance of individual nurses, and the entire healthcare organization
- Implementing new medical technologies that can streamline operations and contribute to more efficient nursing procedures
- Hiring new nurses and releasing employees whenever necessary
- Informing existing nursing staff of any new policies to be implemented across the department
- Managing financial assets
- Assessing collected data sets to draw conclusions that can contribute to more efficient organizational operations
- Reporting results to the president or board of executives at your healthcare organization and informing them of any recent developments involving nursing staff members and procedures
Chief Operating Officer
COO (Chief Operating Officer) — also called a chief operations officer, is one of the highest-ranking executive positions in an organization, composing part of the “C-suite”. The COO is usually the second-in-command at the firm, especially if the highest-ranking executive is the chairperson and CEO. The COO is responsible for the daily operation of the company and its office building and routinely reports to the highest-ranking executive—usually the chief executive officer (CEO). The selection of a COO is similar in many ways to the selection of a vice president or chief of staff of the United States: power and responsibility structures vary in government and private regimes depending on the style and needs of the president or CEO. Thus, the COO role meets individual expectations and changes as leadership teams adjust.
The role of the COO differs from industry to industry and from organization to organization. In the manufacturing sector, the primary role of the COO is routinely one of operations management, meaning that the COO is responsible for the development, design, operation, and improvement of the systems that create and deliver the firm’s products. The COO is responsible for ensuring that business operations are efficient and effective and that the proper management of resources, distribution of goods and services to customers and analysis of queue systems is conducted.
Despite the functional diversity associated with the role of COO, there are some common functions the COOs usually perform:
- At the direction of the CEO and board of directors, marshalling limited resources to the most productive uses with the aim of creating maximum value for the company’s stakeholders.
- Developing and cascading the organization’s strategy/mission statement to the lower-ranking staff, and implementing appropriate rewards/recognition and coaching or corrective practices to align personnel with company goals.
- Planning by prioritizing customer, employee, and organizational requirments.
- Maintaining and monitoring staffing, levels, knowledge-skills-attributes (KSA), expectations and motivation to fulfill organizational requirements.
- Driving performance measures for the operation (including a consideration of efficiency versus effectiveness), often in the form of dashboards convenient for review of high level key indicators.
Chief Privacy Officer
CPO (Chief Privacy Officer) — is a senior level executive within a growing number of global corporations, public agencies and other organizations, responsible for managing risks related to information privacy laws and regulations. Variations on the role often carry titles such as Privacy Officer, Privacy Leader, and Privacy Counsel. However, the role of CPO differs significantly from another similarly-titled role, the Data Protection Officer (DPO), a role mandated for some organizations under the GDPR, and the two roles should not be confused or conflated.
As the leader of a corporate privacy program, a CPO has a number of essential responsibilities, including:
- Managing the company’s policies, procedures and data governance.
- Driving privacy-related awareness and training among employees.
- Leading incident response, including data breach preparedness.
- Communicating privacy goals and values both internally and externally.
- Designing controls for managing privacy compliance.
- Assessing privacy-related risks arising from existing products and services.
- Conducting Privacy Impact Assessments to identify risks in new or changed business activities.
- Monitoring the effectiveness of privacy-related risk mitigation and compliance measures.
Chief Process Officer
CPO (Chief Process Officer) — is an executive responsible for business process management at the highest level of an organization. CPOs usually report directly to the CEO or board of directors. They oversee business process activities and are responsible for defining rules, policies, and guidelines to ensure that the main objectives follow the company strategy as well as establishing control mechanisms.
The CPO defines the process management strategy and related objectives for the company; develops, documents, and introduces the process model; and monitors process compliance.
Chief Procurement Officer
CPO (Chief Procurement Officer) — undertakes an executive role within an enterprise, focusing on sourcing, procurement, and supply management. Globalization, compliance pressures, supply market risk, and procurement automation have simultaneously elevated the visibility of the procurement discipline within companies and increased supply management challenges. In response, procurement executives have established agendas for organizational transformation. These plans incorporate activities to bring more spending under management, enhance the procurement organization’s skills and visibility, and increase both internal and external collaboration.
Typically, a CPO is responsible for the management, administration, and supervision of the company’s acquisition programs. They may be in charge of the contracting services and may manage the purchase of supplies, equipment, and materials. It is often his or her responsibility to source goods and services and to negotiate prices and contracts.
Chief Product Officer
CPO (Chief Product Officer) — sometimes known as Head of Product, is a corporate title referring to an executive responsible for various product-related activities in an organization. The CPO is to the business’s product what the CTO is to technology. They focus on bringing the product strategy to align with the business strategy and to deploy that throughout the organization. They are most common in technology companies, or organizations where technology is now a large part of the way they serve customers (such as banks and newspapers).
A CPO is responsible for all product-related matters. Usually includes product strategy, product vision, product innovation, product design, product development, project management and product marketing. In many tech companies, this position includes distribution, manufacturing, and procurement. Ultimately the CPO’s responsibility is to build a great product that avails sustainable value in terms of revenue and profits for the business. A CPO may sometimes serve as a chief marketing officer by involving themselves in marketing and advertising product benefits to consumers. The CPO can both design or modify the product, so that it reaches the customer’s satisfaction.
Chief Quality Officer
CQO (Chief Quality Officer) — provides the leadership and direction needed in order to ensure that regulations are followed and that safety protocols are in place. Their goal is to ensure that the company they work for provides the highest quality service possible while adhering to regulations. Their work can include preparing budgets, supervising staff and developing action plans to assess and improve the quality of the services or products customers receive.
Their duties can involve communicating with both customers and staff. They also supervise staff as part of their job. Many chief quality officers work for hospitals and medical facilities where their focus is on improving patient care.
CQO in any organization is the manager responsible for monitoring the quality of the products or services provided. Many CQOs report directly to the chief executive officer (CEO) and are usually members of the management team. In healthcare, both small hospitals and major health systems charge CQOs with helping to collect and report the data that demonstrates high-quality outcomes, which are needed for reimbursement and to attract patients.
Chief Research And Development Officer
CRDO (Chief Research And Development Officer) — leads research for the adoption of new technology and equipment to improve the organisation’s operations and business. CRDO advises on advanced methods to design new food products or enhance processes for production capacity and capabilities. CRDO approves the specifications of final products, packaging and processes to meet technical, quality and regulatory standards.
CRDO designs the technology and innovation roadmap and drives continuous improvement with strong knowledge in food science technology. CRDO possesses a strong interest in new technology and advances in food science to deliver innovative and competitive solutions, and oversee all R&D projects. CRDO is a strategic and creative thinker who shows excellent problem-solving and communication skills, and is able to network effectively.
Chief Reputation Officer
CRO (Chief Reputation Officer) — is an executive-level position at a corporation, company, organization, or institution, typically reporting directly to the CEO or board of directors and belonging to the executive board of directors.
The chief reputation officer is responsible for reputation, brand, public relations/public affairs, and the integrated management and effective and efficient coherence and consistency of all internal and external communications, throughout all physical and virtual touch-points, in order to create a favorable base for strong and lasting relationships with the stakeholders on which the organization depends.
The CRO is the corporate officer primarily responsible for:
- Developing and implementing an integrated communication policy actively embedded in the organization’s global business strategy.
- Helping the organization in deeply understanding its market, and stakeholders and providing knowledge and management tools on how to translate this understanding into differentiating, attractive perceptions and supportive behaviors.
- Assisting the organization in building and maintaining strong relationships with key stakeholders among all strata of society.
- Supporting the organization in creating global strategic alignment through company’s vision, mission, brand values and positioning, as the starting points for internal and external alignment with de organization.
- Helping the organization in creating a strong corporate brand.
- Assessing the organization in creating and enhancing a sustainable reputation.
- Supporting the organization in the identification and mitigation of reputational risks and to advise and participate in decisions that may impact its.
- Preparing top executives and management throughout the business for intense persuasive communication with relevant.
- Advising and supporting the top executive / CEO in building and maintaining his/her personal.
- Developing an integrated management dashboard to measure the corporate communications, brand, reputation and intangibles performance and to reveal accountability and value creation towards business and financial return.
- Fostering the organization in its permanent transformation using reputation management to achieve corporate excellence.
Chief Research Officer
CRO (Chief Research Officer) — research officer, or research director, is a job title commonly given to the most senior executive in an enterprise responsible for the research that supports enterprise goals. Generally, the CRO reports to the chief executive officer. In educational organizations, they report to the chancellor or president.
Chief Restructuring Officer
CRO (Chief Restructuring Officer) — is a senior officer of a company given broad powers to renegotiate all aspects of a company’s finances to deal with an impending bankruptcy or to restructure a company following a bankruptcy filing. The use of CROs, who usually have an expertise in the field of business in which the company operates, has been increasing in popularity since the 1990s. CROs are sometimes seen as an alternative to using a trustee in bankruptcy in a reorganization bankruptcy, because the trustees may not be knowledgeable in field of business conducted by the company.
Further CROs give the company management and creditors more of say in the running of a company than a trustee is required to do so. CRO’s have sometimes been compared to “turn around” consultants although the CRO differs from a turn around consultant in that the CRO is an official of the company and has executive power.
Chief Revenue Officer
CRO (Chief Revenue Officer) —is a corporate officer (executive) responsible for all revenue generation processes in an organization. In this role, a CRO is accountable for driving better integration and alignment between all revenue-related functions, including marketing, sales, customer support, pricing, and revenue management.
CRO is responsible for all activities that generate revenue. In most companies, the CRO is tasked with primary or shared responsibility for operations, sales, corporate development, marketing, pricing, and revenue management. Since these functions extend across multiple teams in most companies, a good CRO must maintain an excellent communication framework across the various organizational functions and share best practices among the revenue stream managers in order to maximize revenue production.
Chief Risk Officer
CRO (Chief Risk Officer) — or chief risk management officer (CRMO) or chief risk and compliance officer (CRCO) of a firm or corporation is the executive accountable for enabling the efficient and effective governance of significant risks, and related opportunities, to a business and its various segments. Risks are commonly categorized as strategic, reputational, operational, financial, or compliance-related. CROs are accountable to the Executive Committee and The Board for enabling the business to balance risk and reward. In more complex organizations, they are generally responsible for coordinating the organization’s Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) approach. The CRO is responsible for assessing and mitigating significant competitive, regulatory, and technological threats to a firm’s capital and earnings.
The CRO roles and responsibilities vary depending on the size of the organization and industry. The CRO works to ensure that the firm is compliant with government regulations, such as Sarbanes-Oxley, and reviews factors that could negatively affect investments. Typically, the CRO is responsible for the firm’s risk management operations, including managing, identifying, evaluating, reporting and overseeing the firm’s risks externally and internally to the organization and works diligently with senior management such as chief executive officer and chief financial officer.
A main priority for the CRO is to ensure that the organization is in full compliance with applicable regulations and to analyze all risk related issues. They may also be required to work alongside other senior executives such as with a chief compliance officer. They may deal with topics regarding insurance, internal auditing, corporate investigations, fraud, and information security. The responsibilities and requirements to become a chief risk officer vary depending on the size of the organization and the industry, however most CRO’s typically have a masters-degree level of education and 10 to 20 years of business-related experience, with actuarial, accounting, economics, and legal backgrounds common. There are many different pathways to become a CRO but most organizations prefer to promote their own employees to the position internally.
Chief System Engineer
CSE (Chief System Engineer) —is the key manager of all the engineering work on the project. Thus, the CSE is both a technical contributor as well as a manager. Responsibilities and Duties of the Chief Systems Engineer (CSE):
- Establish the overall technical approach.
- Evaluate alternative architectural system designs.
- Develop the preferred system architecture.
- Implement a repeatable systems engineering process.
- Implement a repeatable software engineering process.
- Oversee use of computer tools and aids.
- Serve as technical coach and team builder.
- Hold technical review sessions.
- Attempt to minimize overall project time period.
- Develop cost-effective system that satisfies requirements.
Chief Sales Officer
CSO (Chief Sales Officer) — leads company’s sales department to meet revenue and sales growth targets. The CSO role provides daily operations management and oversees the vice president of sales and other sales managers, like the Customer Success Manager (CSM). The Chief Sales Officer job description entails overseeing all sales-related activities including assessing, implementing and reporting on sales strategies that will bring in more revenue and grow your company.
Chief Science Officer
CSO (Chief Science Officer) — is a position at the head of scientific research operations at organizations or companies performing significant scientific research projects. A CSO is typically responsible for envisioning and developing research capabilities (human, methodological, and technological) for developing evidence of the validity and utility of research products, and for communicating with the scientific and customer communities concerning capabilities and scientific product offerings.
In some organizations, the same person may hold this title along with that of chief technology officer (CTO). Alternatively, a company could have one or the other, or both occupied by separate people. Often, CSOs exist in heavily research-oriented companies; while CTOs exist in product development focused companies. The typical category of research and development that exists in many science and technology companies can be led by either post, depending upon which area is the organization’s primary focus.
Chief Security Officer
CSO (Chief Security Officer) — is an organization’s most senior executive accountable for the development and oversight of policies and programs intended for the mitigation and/or reduction of compliance, operational, strategic, financial and reputational security risk strategies relating to the protection of people, intellectual assets and tangible property.
The accountabilities of the CSO include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- In cooperation with the organization’s executive leadership team(s), directs the development of an effective strategy to assess and mitigate risk (foreign and domestic), manage crises and incidents, maintain continuity of operations, and safeguard the organization.
- Directing staff in identifying, developing, implementing, and maintaining security processes, practices, and policies throughout the organization to reduce risks, respond to incidents, and limit exposure and liability in all areas of information, financial, physical, personal, and reputational risk.
- Ensures the organization’s compliance with the local, national, and international regulatory environments where applicable to the accountability of this role (i.e. privacy, data protection, and environmental, health and safety).
- Researches and deploys state-of-the-art technology solutions and innovative security management techniques to safeguard the organization’s personnel and assets, including intellectual property and trade secrets. Establishes appropriate standards and associated risk controls.
- Develops relationships with high-level officials in law enforcement to include in-country security, intelligence, and other relevant governmental functions as well as private sector counterparts.
- Through other internal policy committees, personnel and/or other external resources, coordinates and implements site security, operations, and activities to ensure protection of executives, managers, employees, customers, stakeholders, visitors, etc., as well as all physical and information assets, while ensuring optimal use of personnel and equipment.
Chief Services Officer
CSO (Chief Services Officer) — is a position at the head of a firm carrying significant service design responsibilities. The CSO typically is responsible for developing processes and tools, both internally and externally, for producing maximum value to all stakeholders with intelligent and efficient use of potentially fluctuating human resources.
In some organizations, the same person may hold this title along with that of chief operations officer (COO) as they both are same level roles. Alternatively, a company could have one or the other, or both occupied by separate people. Often, a CSO exists in heavily client-focussed companies, while a COO exists in product development focused companies. A CSO almost always has a strong operations background and advanced degree, whereas a COO often has a background in business development. Both CSO and COO report to the CEO or managing director of a company.
Chief Strategy Officer
CSO (Chief Strategy Officer) — is an executive, that usually reports to the CEO, and has primary responsibility for strategy formulation and management, including developing the corporate vision and strategy, overseeing strategic planning, and leading strategic initiatives, including M&A, transformation, partnerships, and cost reduction. Some companies give the title of Chief Strategist or Chief Business Officer to its senior executives who are holding the top strategy role.
Typical CSO responsibilities include:
- Develop a comprehensive, inclusive strategic plan and growth strategy by collaborating with the CEO, senior leadership and the board of directors, which determines the enterprise’s overall vision, evaluates the overall business portfolio, and M&A plan.
- Analyze macroeconomic factors, competitive dynamics, market share changes, organization capabilities (e.g., product line performance), government regulation, and strategic risks.
- Identify and often execute important capital projects, joint ventures, potential M&A targets and other strategic partnership opportunities.
- Driving decision-making that creates medium- and long-term improvement.
- Establish and reviewing key strategic priorities and translating them into a comprehensive strategic plan, and monitor the execution of the strategic plan.
- Facilitate and driving key strategic initiatives through inception phases.
- Actively support the CEO and BoD on strategic initiatives and inorganic investments.
- Oversees the company’s M&A agenda and developing and negotiating strategic partnerships and/or divestments.
- Ensure departmental/unit strategic planning projects reflect organizational strategic priorities.
- Partner with institutional leadership, special committees, and consultants to support execution of key initiatives.
Chief Sustainability Officer
CSO (Chief Sustainability Officer) — is the corporate title of an executive position within a corporation that is in charge of the corporation’s “environmental” programs. Several companies have created such environmental manager positions in the 21st century to formalize their commitment to the environment. The rise of the investor ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) movement and stakeholder capitalism, has increased the need for corporations to address sustainability and social issues across their value chain, and address growing needs of external stakeholders.
Normally these responsibilities rest with the facility manager, who has provided cost effective resource and environmental control as part of the basic services necessary for the company to function. However, as sustainability initiatives have expanded beyond the facility — so has the importance of the position to what is now a C-level executive role. The position of CSO has not been standardized across industries and individual companies which leads it to take on differing roles depending on the organization. The position has also been challenged as symbolic, in that it does not actually have the effect of increasing sustainable practices.
Chief sustainability officers are responsible for an organization’s objectives and initiatives relating to sustainability. CSO’s are also often responsible for:
- Communicating work done on sustainability both inside and outside the organization.
- Managing certifications such as Fair Trade Certified Mark, Organic certification and B Corporation (certification).
- Establishing internal process for calculating organizational Carbon footprint and building plans for reducing it.
- Waste Management, recycling and supply-chain management and building a plan towards supporting a Circular economy.
Chief Technology Officer
CTO (Chief Technology Officer) — also known as a Chief Technical Officer or Chief Technologist, is an executive-level position in a company or other entity whose occupation is focused on the scientific and technological issues within an organization.
A CTO is very similar to a Chief Information Officer (CIO). CTOs will make decisions for the overarching technology infrastructure that closely align with the organization’s goals, while CIOs work alongside the organization’s information technology (“IT”) staff members to perform everyday operations. A CTO should be aware of new and existing technologies to guide the company’s future endeavors. The attributes of the roles a CTO holds vary from one company to the next, mainly depending on their organizational structure.
Chief Value Officer
CVO (Chief Value Officer) — is the guardian of the organization’s values and virtues, its culture, its spirit, its integrity, its ethical principles and moral foundations, and promotes adherence thereto. The purpose of a CVO is to maximize the value of a business. A CVO keeps the engine of an organization’s life running smoothly with minimal disruption to the environment and a maximum of character building and social responsibility. A CVO nurtures relationships and preserves the vital interests of all stakeholders of the organization within its immediate sphere of influence. A CVO is charged to keep the human side of an organization functioning on the course of honest, wise, responsible, legal, and accountable business and professional practices and in compliance with community standards and the organization’s or accepted sectorial codes of conduct.
Chief Visionary Officer
CVO (Chief Visionary Officer) — or Chief Vision Officer is an executive function in a company like CEO or COO. The title is sometimes used to formalize a high-level advisory position and other times used to define a higher ranking position than that held by the CEO. In some cases, the CVO is added to the CEO title (for CEO/CVO status), much in the same way that people with multiple university degrees list them after their names.
Chief Web Officer
A CWO should have a great understanding of computers, systems, and programming. Not only does this position require knowledge of various programming languages, it may also include skill and ability in digital graphics, design, and creative writing. Modern CWOs have tasks greater than being a webmaster or a web developer. Instead, they are taken to an extent of controlling the entire online presence for their company. Overall, a CWO position is the most prestigious title for a web developer to achieve.
Responsibilities of the CWO position vary among enterprises, depending on the needs and goals of the business. A CWO should have a deep and broad understanding of the Web and website governance issues. Some of the issues within the CWO jurisdiction could include online strategy, budgeting, systems and software administration, hosting, online marketing and communications, e-commerce, customer service, business development, online community and social media, web content development and workflows, website graphic design, user experience (analysis/design), information/data architecture, website analytics, security, archiving, accessibility, legal issues (for example, copyright, DRM, trademark, and privacy), and training, among others.
Chief Experience Officer
CXO (Chief Experience Officer) — is an executive responsible for the overall experience of an organization’s products and services. As user experience (UX) is quickly becoming a key differentiator in the modern business landscape, the CXO is charged with bringing holistic experience design to the boardroom and making it an intrinsic part of the company’s strategy and culture. A CXO’s responsibilities include:
- Corporate leadership in UX strategy.
- Software and hardware design management.
- Creative reviews and concept development.
- Intellectual property positioning and protection.
One thought on “Who are the CEO, CFO, CCO, CIO, CMO, CRO, etc.?”
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