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What is a chief digital officer? A digital strategist and evangelist in chief

A chief digital officer strategically transforms a company’s technological future in a way many CIOs don’t have the bandwidth to do.


CIO | October 3, 2017



The CIO article, “What is a chief digital officer? A digital strategist and evangelist in chief,” quoted Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Justin Cerilli about the chief digital officer's role and responsibilities. The article is excerpted below. 

Of all the new tech-related CXO titles, chief digital officer may the most loosely defined. At many companies, the chief digital officer is a customer-facing role that signals a commitment to a digital future. At others, the chief digital officer’s main responsibility is to strategically transform the company’s technological future in a way many CIOs don’t have the bandwidth to do.

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The chief digital officer role and responsibilities

The best chief digital officers are able to envision a company’s digital future and also bring other executives and users on board with that vision. “Evangelism comes more and more under the digital role,” says Justin Cerilli, who leads the financial services technology and data & analytics practices at consultancy Russell Reynolds Associates. “It’s always about people, processes and technology and how digital enables that. The people in these roles have to focus on process, on the business strategy, and on how to tell a story to get there.”

While other tech-related chief titles have a clearer path to the role, chief digital officers can come from many different backgrounds, he says. They may have technology backgrounds, data science backgrounds, marketing backgrounds, or they may come from consulting or research firms. “Sometimes it’s a good strategy person,” he says. “It depends what the organization needs.”

To read the full article​​, click here.

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What is a chief digital officer? A digital strategist and evangelist in chief