Category Archives: MediaRoom

CDO: You Say Chief Digital Officer, I Say Chief Data Officer

There’s a tidal wave of data-related jobs rolling in these days, from data scientists and data analysts to CDOs and CDOs. No, that’s not a typo; I’m just using the same acronym for chief data officer and chief digital officer. Given the growth in data jobs, it shouldn’t really come as too much of a surprise that two different executive-level roles have emerged which go by the same three letters.

Chief digital officer vs. chief data officer: Who will win the day?

August 11 2014 “On the other hand, the chief digital officer role is viewed by some CDOs as stepping stone to even higher ground. At the Chief Digital Officer Summit in New York City last April, David Mathison, founder of the CDO Club and summit curator, shared research documenting a trend of digital officers moving into the chief executive role. In the 2014 Chief Digital Officer Talent Map, Mathison pointed to seven digital officers who transitioned to the CEO role — a “staggering figure, considering there are just a few hundred CDOs to date,” he noted in a blog post. According to the report, more than 60% of digital officers in the advertising industry, and more than 30% of digital officers in media, “had previous experience as CEO, president, general manager or executive director.”

So you Want to be a CDO (or Not)?

August 8, 2014 “What’s really interesting, when you start looking at the CDO role, is where they come from,” says David Mathison, founder of the CDO Club and producer of the CDO Summit ( “Many CDOs were previously presidents, CEOs and general managers — in the advertising sector, as many as 60%. They’re entrepreneurs and have had P&L responsibilities.” Just because the pattern shows that most CDOs don’t come up the ranks from a senior technology leadership or CIO role, doesn’t mean they can’t. In fact Mathison sees the rise of the CDO position as a golden opportunity for technology professionals who want to get closer to — or ultimately aspire to be — the chief executive. “A lot of innovative IT executives have been dreaming of an opportunity like this, where they can get a budget and a headcount, and use technology to drive transformation in the business.”

Expert advice: The Most Important Hire For CIOs

June 20, 2014: “According to the latest deep research conducted by theCDO Club, the number of Chief Digital Officers in 2013 doubled again in one year–just as it has been doing since 2005–to a total of 500. And the CDO Club is conservatively projecting that number to double again, to some 1,000 Chief Digital Officers by the end of 2014. So what is responsible for the exponential growth of this role?”

The Chief Digital Officer Takes Centre Stage

June 19, 2014: “The Chief Digital Officer Talent Map 2013 , published by CDO Club, reveals:
• In 2005 the first CDO was appointed; in 2013 there were 488 CDOs worldwide; by 2014 forecasts suggest there will be 1,000 – 1,500 CDOs worldwide, see Exhibit 2;
• Since the beginning of 2013,190 new Chief Digital Officers have been hired globally;
• More than 75 CDOs have been hired across Western and Eastern Europe;
• In Australia, 45 percent of business leaders in Australia have a CDO; and
• Out of the 36 percent of CDOs who moved on to new roles in 2013, 77 percent moved into a c-suite position, either CEO, President, MD or board director.”

The rise of the chief digital officer

June 12, 2014: “The number of CDOs doubled in 2013 to 500 and it is predicted that there will be 1,000 by the end of 2014. The CDO is becoming fundamental to business. In many cases they will take over from the traditional CMO and CTO or CIO roles, although the extent of this will depend on the size of company and requirements. It’s not about nice-to-have digital campaigns, but how the company is run, managed, directed and led.”

Rise of the Digital Banker

June 5, 2014: “These banks are part of a bigger trend in which companies in all industries (especially advertising, media and publishing) have been adopting the chief digital officer title. In 2005, there was exactly one CDO in the entire world: Jason Hirschhorn at MTV. In 2013, there were 488, according to the Chief Digital Officer Club. The group predicts that by the end of this year, there will be 1,000 CDOs worldwide.”

SURVEY: Number of Chief Digital Officers is on the rise

May 15, 2014: “Seven chief digital officers moved up the career ladder to CEO in 2013, according to the CDO Club’s 2014 Talent Map, but another data point may help explain why CDOs are experiencing a quick rise to the top: Sixty percent of CDOs in the advertising sector previously held the title of CEO, president, general manager, or managing director.”

“That’s a mindboggling figure,” CDO Club Founder and Curator David Mathison said at a recent CDO Summit. “These are people who obviously have general management skills, they’ve run companies before, and it’s very clear that the time is right for these people to step up.”

Women in IT find CDO role especially appealing

May 14, 2014: “The recent selection of Rachel S. Haot as Chief Digital Officer of the Year by the CDO Club reminded me of a recent research finding that the ranks of the CDO seem especially attractive to women. In fact, female CDOs outnumber female CIOs by two-to-one, according to Gartner.

I wrote about that trend in FierceCIO recently, noting that “women who aspire for a career in IT leadership may want to consider the role of the chief digital officer.”

Even the Chief Digital Officer Club made special note of the fact it was naming a woman to the top CDO spot this year. In an email to FierceCIO, CDO Club founder David Mathison noted that “Haot is only the second CDO–and the first female–to be awarded this recognition.”

“Despite the across-the-board presence of CDOs in numerous industries, Mathison does confirm a trend that may speak volumes about why the role attracts more women. The numbers are heavily stacked toward the industries of media, advertising and publishing–industries that have long attracted a strong female workforce.”