CEO’s and CFO’s of the future are not (only) those you think they are

Imagine yourself in the future for a moment. Look at the rising stars of the economy, the new generation of managers who will make a difference, the difference. You might need one of them very soon. Or do you recognize yourself in one of the following job descriptions?

1.    The new CEO might be a…CDO

The Chief Digital Officer. 

The time when digital transformation was just another project with a clear start and end date, is behind us. It is now  a continuous process. In the near future, organizations will increasingly need a Chief Digital Officer who is capable of managing and leading the never ending transformation within the company.

Ideally, the CEO’s themselves have a good vision of the digital future and are fully aware of how digital transformation is changing the world and their company. Unfortunately companies often lack the digital leadership they need. 

Independent CDO’s will be very valuable in the future as they will help organizations secure and speed up the transformation. 

However, a good CDO is not only a digital expert; he or she may also be a general manager, sometimes on interim basis. As the role is frequently transformational, CDO’s are generally responsible for the adoption of the entire digital transformation process. They can be called “transformers-in-chief,” charged with coordinating and managing comprehensive changes that address everything from updating how a company works to building out entirely new businesses. And they must progress quickly.

They will need strong leadership skills, broad insights, and a transversal approach enabling them to operate in a large-scale business. 

2.    CFO... Chief Future Officer:

Again, with everything happening faster than ever before and with the increasing importance of digital, companies will need strategic high profiles with strong insights, who are capable to predict and adequately anticipate the future of their business and how organizations should prepare for it, in terms of skills, people and technologies. 

Consequently, CFO’s (Chief Financial Officers) will also more often become Chief Future Officers. Indeed, they will be particularly useful in their aptitude to evaluate if the budget estimates and plans they are responsible for, will be relevant and accurate in an economy which will be increasingly characterized by disruptive changes.  

3.    CEO, CGO, CECO

Chief Environmental Officer. Or Chief green officer (CGO) or Chief environmental commitment officer (CECO). According to Wikipedia, he or she is a corporate officer responsible for implementing and managing the corporation's commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and protecting the environment.

No doubt, in many organizations, this (temporarily) hired high profile will gain importance as climate change and other environmental issues will have a growing impact on companies’ decisions. 

Chief Environmental Officer will be close to the top level since he/she will usually also share the responsibility for the Direction of Research and Development of new technologies with the CEO and COO. 


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