New technologies build new teams—and new C-suite roles. Discover how the anatomy of the executive team may evolve with new innovation.
Innovation in technology and business practice is changing the face of work as we know it. The technology C-suite is at the forefront of these transformations: CIOs, CTOs, CISOs, Chief Digital Officers and Chief Data Officers are uniquely positioned to lead their companies through the complexities and uncertainties of these new and emerging technologies. That’s because they themselves have the responsibility of utilising these technologies to benefit the business. But new innovation may require new roles.
Over the years, the titles and responsibilities of the technology C-suite have evolved to keep pace with the rapidly changing technology industry. The youngest established role is the Chief Digital Officer, responsible for driving digital transformation and overseeing an organisation's digital strategy. On the other hand, the CIO is often considered the oldest and most established role, with a focus on managing and utilising an organisation's information and technology resources, often having other technology leaders report into them, too.
The established roles in the C-suite may evolve, but the greatest changes to be found in the executive team will be in the creation of new roles, with new powers and new responsibilities—some of them are already serving their organisations—and may be joining your Board meeting in the coming years:
Emerging Technology C-Suite Roles
Chief Metaverse Officer
This new role might report directly to the CEO, depending on the importance of the metaverse for a business’ operating model, and be responsible for creating seamless employee and customer experiences across both the digital and virtual realms. The Chief Metaverse Officer will bring this expertise in-house and educate the rest of the workforce on the potential benefits for the company. In addition this role must be in touch with younger generations' advanced grasp of new technology and how it interacts with platforms, worlds, experiences and, most importantly, communities.
Chief Automation and AI Officer
This role focuses on using new and emerging technologies to solve automation problems, and drive efficiency and innovation within the company. They oversee business process decisions and decide on the use of digital labour, automation or human labour for tasks. The Chief Automation and AI Officer may work collaboratively with the CIO, CDO and CISO to identify areas for automation and modernisation, collect data insights, implement advanced AI methods and manage changes.
Chief Ethics Officer
This executive is tasked with ensuring the business aligns with its values and ethical principles, working to uphold the company's commitment to ethical and responsible behaviour. The CEO is responsible for creating and implementing ethical guidelines, fostering an ethical culture within the organisation and addressing any ethical dilemmas that may arise. As the emphasis on ethics continues to grow in the business world, it is likely that the role of the CEO will become increasingly prominent in the C-suite.
Chief Blockchain Officer
This executive will be responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of blockchain strategy, identifying new use cases for blockchain and ensuring that the technology is integrated into the overall business strategy. They will also play a key role in driving the adoption of blockchain within the companies, fostering collaboration between different departments and ensuring the security and integrity of the blockchain ecosystem.
Chief Privacy Officer
This role is already established in many organisations, as the need of CPO has grown in the recent years as companies handle larger and more sensitive amounts of data. The CPO is responsible for overseeing privacy issues within a company, including developing and implementing privacy policies, managing data protection and security programs, whilst advising on privacy regulation and compliance. This importance of privacy and the protection of personal data will likely only continue to increase, as privacy becomes a key issue for consumers, clients, the supply chain and businesses alike.
The technology C-suite is poised for a major overhaul as the pace of innovation accelerates with new technologies emerging every day. Adding the roles listed above to the technology C-suite is just the tip of the iceberg. These new leaders will be instrumental in driving digital transformation, promoting ethics, ensuring privacy and security with guiding companies towards a brighter future.
Perhaps the bigger question is not how these new roles will grow and evolve to support the business, but how they will impact the traditional technology C-suite and the hierarchy that many have taken for granted. The Board should be readily adaptable to the necessary changes that will herald the business models of the future.
Want to learn more? Watch this roundtable debate, The Evolving Role of the Chief Data Officer, and learn from the following leaders:
Christina Finlay, Director Data & Analytics, Nest Corporation;
Dr Frank Moser, Sales Director, Continental Europe, WANdisco;
Jeanine Norden, CPO, Momentum Metropolitan Holdings Ltd;
Nuala Kennedy-Preston, CDO, People’s Postcode Lottery;
Roberto Maranca, Data Excellence VP, Schneider Electric;
Samir Boualla, CDO, ING Bank (France).
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