What Organizations Look For in a Chief Digital Officer (CDO)

Information Age talks to Rhys Grossman

Information Age | April 23, 2012 recently discussed the rise of the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) with Rhys Grossman, Russell Reynolds Associates, to gain further insight into the shifting landscape for c-suite positions in technology / information. See below as Rhys explains what experience and skills organizations are looking for in CDO candidates:

Over the past 18 months, organisations as diverse as the City of New York, Diageo, GlaxoSmithKlein and Starbucks have all appointed CDOs. According to Rhys Grossman of Russell Reynolds Associates, large organisations from sectors including government, consumer packaged goods, media and retail are scrabbling to fill these CDO positions.

“We’re being asked to find those people who are steeped in e-commerce, but with the leadership skills, influencing skills and general management credibility to take a role with a direct line to the chief executive,” he says.

Unfortunately for aspiring IT managers, CDOs are rarely recruited from within the IT department, he says. “Typically, they are coming out of companies such as and eBay, not the department that looks after the desktops.”

According to Russell Reynolds Associates’s Grossman, what businesses are looking for in a CDO above all is someone with the vision to understand the possibilities that technology offers, says Grossman. “I think that favours those that have held a chief technology officer role rather than chief information officers,” he says. “But it depends on the candidate, and their credibility with the C-level team.”

Access the full paper, The Rise of the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) or read the article on

Russell Reynolds Associates

Leadership for a Changing World. In today’s global business environment, success is driven by the talent, vision and leadership capabilities of senior executives.

Russell Reynolds Associates is a leading global executive search and assessment firm with more than 300 consultants based in 40 offices worldwide. Our consultants work closely with public and private organizations to assess and recruit senior executives and board members to drive long-term growth and success.

Our in-depth knowledge of major industries and our clients’ specific business challenges, combined with our understanding of who and what make an effective leader, ensures that our clients secure the best leadership teams for the ongoing success of their businesses.

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What Organizations Look For in a Chief Digital Officer (CDO)