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What Type of Chief Digital Officer Does Your Company Need?



As businesses face the challenge of incorporating digitalisation into their structures, choosing a suitable Chief Digital Officer (CDO) has become increasingly important. However, as a relatively new role, many executives are still unclear over the exact parameters of the position or what attributes the ideal candidate should possess. To help a company choose a CDO who will instantly fit into the existing company structure, the role has conveniently evolved into five distinct character profiles.

Creative Disrupter

A CDO who has a practical approach and loves to be directly involved in creating business models and experimenting with the latest digital technology. Through leading by example, a creative disrupter can be an inspiring figure, encouraging the most reluctant to look forward to digitalisation. Industries such as retail and publishing are faced with many digitalisation challenges and could benefit from this CDO who would fearlessly address the most difficult of issues.

Progressive Thinker

Imaginative, meticulous and creative, this CDO character can always be relied upon to know the solution to many digitalisation problems. The progressive thinker is an inspiring executive who can overcome many obstacles in the quest for digitalisation. An ideal CDO for large, established industries in sectors such as oil and mining that have much to overcome in digitally transforming their businesses.

Innovative Technologist

Attracted to technology of any kind, this CDO will soon have a business connected to the Internet of Things and every type of social media outlet. The innovative technologist will incorporate technology and analytics to create seamless business structures that are efficient and cost-effective. An ideal CDO for manufacturing and retail where streamlined supply chains, expansion and economy are vital for survival.

Customer Advocate

This CDO needs to display an aptitude for team work as closely liaising with sales and marketing executives is an integral part of the appointment. A customer advocate will inevitably possess an instinctive flair for developing engaging, multi-channel initiatives to enrich customer experience. A valuable CDO for all types of businesses involved in industries such as leisure, banking and retail where there is an emphasis on marketing.


A determined CDO who sees digitalisation as the only route to success has the ability to completely transform the most sceptical business into a futuristic, digital entity. With such a zealous approach, the universalist will need the full approval of the board as he or she implements a dynamic digitalisation programme. Any ambitious business that is finding the prospect of digitalisation difficult would appreciate such a dedicated CDO.

Choosing a CDO

In addition to these distinctive personality traits, the perfect CDO will need qualities such as inspirational leadership, a vibrant personality, an air of authority and be an effective communicator, liaising between employees and the board of executives. By appointing a competent CDO with the right personality, a business can readily adapt to digitalisation.

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