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CDO job title losing ground to CTO

Left to right, Pat Lynes, Kersty Bletso and Ross Stacey. Picture by Matt Gore

CTO is the job title to have as CDO drifts into obscurity, three leaders in CTO and CIO executive search reveal to this week’s Horizon Business Innovation podcast, out on Thursday morning.  

Chief Digital Officer (CDO), has had a brief foray into the spotlight of business technology leadership and in some rare cases has proven to be a useful catalyst for change in an organisation, but in a debate with Horizon for its forthcoming podcast Kersty Bletso, Pat Lynes and Ross Stacey reveal that demand for the title is already dropping.

Bletso, Director of the Technology and Digital practice at boutique CIO, HR and finance recruiters BIE, Pat Lynes, founder of interim leaders Sullivan & Stanley and Ross Stacey, Partner of finance and technology recruiters SA tell Horizon in a two part podcast that the search and executive recruitment industry is undergoing a great deal of change as business models modify to meet new demands from CEOs, CTOs and CIOs.

“There was a rise in CDOs,” Stacey of SA said. “Now a lot of CIOs are taking on the CDO role and I’m seeing a number of CDIO roles.” Bletso at BIE adds, “Job titles come down to where IT sits  in the organisation.”  

All three agree that the chief technology officer (CTO) role is very much in vogue, a trend this title has seen.  Pat Lynes of Sullivan & Stanley says organisations are looking for interim CTOs, while his peers Stacey and Bletso concur that a rising number of organisations are looking for permanent CTOs.

“It is a sign that businesses are investing in their technology and architecture,” Lynes adds.  Stacey warns though that there are a wealth of managers using the title CTO, especially in technology companies, but they’re really experienced developers and CEOs need a CTO or CIO with strong commercial skills.

“There is a call for more CTOs at the moment as it is a cool title,” Bletso said. Stacey added that a global CTO recently rejected the CIO job title from their employer as many see the CIO role as purely stakeholder management, whilst CTOs are at the heart of transforming the business and the services it offers its customers.

Bletso tells Horizon that it is organisations and not members of the business technology leadership community that are focused on job titles.

In a recent review of the major role changes in 2016 (available as a podcast or article) Horizon highlighted Andrew Jordan becoming CTO for Carlson Wagonlit from a CIO role at global media organisation NBC Universal and tabloid news group Daily Mail Group lost a CIO and gained a CTO.

To download the Horizon Business Innovation podcasts visit our podcast channel.  Alternatively you can find us on iTunes and Soundcloud.

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About Mark Chillingworth 278 Articles
Mark Chillingworth has over 20 years of journalism and editing experience across all media platforms including online, live events, print magazines and television.
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