Chief administrative officer 9. Take for example the classical Chief Executive Officer (CEO) role. Chief Strategy Officers (CSOs) face a number of challenges distinct from those faced by other members of the C-Suite—in particular, the breadth and ambiguity of the CSO’s role. Address. At other companies, innovation is at the core of the change effort. As a result, CEOs are appointing “chief strategy officers”—executives specifically tasked with creating, communicating, executing, and sustaining a company’s strategic initiatives. CSOs don’t just wait for the phone to ring. They preemptively take the lead on strategic questions that business-unit heads don’t have the time to deal with. Start with changes to the business landscape—complex organizational structures, rapid globalization, new regulations, the struggle to innovate—that make it ever more difficult for CEOs to be on top of everything, even an area as important as strategy execution. There are good reasons for CEOs to delegate strategy responsibilities to another in the C-suite. As Heidrick & Struggles’s managing partner Krishnan Rajagopalan told us: “People take on the chief strategy role because they want to run the business sooner or later. Chief Information Officer(CIO) 4. And they make sure decisions at all levels align with strategic objectives. “When we’re starting a new business, I’ll help create the business plan, find the right people, do whatever it takes to make the business happen.”. The key factor in all of these questions is alignment with company strategy. The strategy chief, he explains, is often the one person in the room who is in the best position to “put the moose on the table”—to challenge thinking and discuss the subjects no one else wants to touch so that these issues no longer serve as barriers to agreement and action. When should we move into a new market? In 1980, the average time at the top was seven to nine years; today it is four to five years. Also consider that stakeholder demands from all quarters are putting pressure on CEOs to deliver results rapidly—and deliver them in line with factors that are only tangentially related to the making and marketing of products or services. CSOs consider themselves doers first, with the mandate, credentials, and desire to act as well as advise. One health care company we studied was rebounding from bankruptcy in 2005, so its strategic emphasis was on fast growth. They must be able “to tell [the strategy story] in a way people can understand and buy in to,” says Countrywide’s Janet Matricciani. ... focuses on building capabilities across the organization … And AMD’s William T. “Billy” Edwards had a rich set of experiences before being named CSO in 2004, including time as CEO of Hesson Labs, line management roles at Motorola, positions with medical equipment start-ups, and nearly a decade with a top strategy consulting firm. Conant was confident the new CSO would help do the same for the soup company. To help existing and aspiring CSOs be more effective, and to aid CEOs who think they might need to hire or appoint a strategy chief, we’ve been studying these executives as a class: Who are they? AIG’s Brian Schreiber wanted to be the “first call people made every time they had a new [strategic] opportunity.” That way, he could quickly get the right people involved in making a decision—calling on members of the senior team, for instance, or experts in functional areas like treasury and risk management. In the medium term, CSOs add value by building world-class strategy development and execution capabilities within the company. Increased volatility, rapid globalization, the rise of new technologies, industry convergence, and changes in the workforce—all have contributed to an environment in which top-down planning needs to be balanced with quick and agile execution. He could also ensure that the decision was based on a strong strategic rationale as well as a financial one. Vice Chancellor & Chief Financial Officer 200 California Hall Berkeley, CA 94720. And executive recruiters confirmed what our interviews revealed: The search for the right candidate, whether internal or external, takes longer than most CEOs expect—a fact that is particularly frustrating for those chief executives looking to implement a growth or innovation agenda quickly. An aviation company executive emphasized the point: “We can have the best plan in the world, but if we can’t execute, we won’t be able to pay the bills.” Driving change and enforcing the consistent application of decisions may require taking things as far as Kimberly-Clark’s Black would go: shrinking strategic planning to a small internal team and leveraging the expertise of outside consultants. At Cadbury Schweppes, Todd Stitzer went from being CEO of Dr Pepper/7 Up to becoming chief strategy officer to becoming deputy CEO of the entire company to finally being appointed CEO—all between 1997 and 2003. So he also considers himself the point person for assessing whether strategic initiatives, at all levels of the organization, are in line with the company’s standards and objectives. “It’s crucial for me to ask, ‘What implicit decisions have we made that need to be explicit? CSOs communicate strategy to people throughout the organization and help them see how their work supports it. The senior team might need a big-picture view of the strategy, whereas those people actually executing the plan on the ground might need a more pragmatic view. They’re nominally and ultimately responsible for strategy, but today’s CEOs have less and less time to devote to it. Successful execution, therefore, depends more than ever on rapid and effective decision making. So the CSO’s attention to this period underlines the unique perspective this individual brings to the organization. Even more important, we've helped shape and define what health and well-being means in everyday lives. Black’s attitude and approach to his job map closely to another of our research findings: Most top strategy executives are star players more so than professional coaches. The following are some of the common C-Level titles: 1. A strategy that is clear one day can become fuzzy the next as people and competitive environments change. There’s no simple, step-by-step recipe for success in the role of chief strategy officer—but there are a few essential ingredients. To borrow a term from French cinema, they act as réalisateurs. Organizational Chart Contact Us OCRO Internal Site (OCRO-only) Main Content. Some companies, including AIG, Kimberly-Clark, Motorola, and Yahoo!, have discovered a way to fill the execution void: hire a chief strategy officer. Chief Strategy Officer (CSO): A chief strategy officer (CSO) is an executive charged with helping formulate, facilitate and communicate an organization's plans for the future. Indeed, chemical company H.B. As senior vice president of strategic planning during Maurice “Hank” Greenberg’s tenure, Schreiber’s focus was on implementing investment decisions and acquiring companies selected by the management team. Despite such challenges, more and more companies are exploring the CSO option. Boards are also increasing their involvement in strategy development; several have guided their CEOs toward delegating strategy execution to another C-suite executive. Many strategy chiefs are creating departments specifically for this purpose, hiring people with strong strategy-related skills and competencies (business development, competitive analysis, M&A expertise, and the like). The presiding person leading the business and possessing the highest authority in the company is chairman. For instance, the top management team of one company held a consensus view that IT was an “overhead activity” until its CSO helped it adopt a new perspective: technology as a partner in and enabler of strategy. 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