A growing number of corporations are moving beyond The Big Three C-Suite executive roles, CEO, COO and CFO. To adapt to the evolving nature of business and the changing needs of customers, the C-suite is being expanded to accommodate new roles for a changing business landscape.
Chief Heat Officer (CHO)
The US city of Miami became the first city in the world to appoint Jane Gilbert as CHO. A Chief Heat Officer is an executive who oversees the effects of extreme heat on cities, and facilitates actions to reduce its destructive impact. The officer also ensures that low income communities are not sidelined by the city’s heat action plans. Their role also includes raising awareness about extreme weather which is often underestimated because its effects are not as dramatic as other natural disasters. The mayors of Athens, Greece, and Freetown, Sierra Leone have also agreed to appoint CHOs.
Chief Risk Officer (CRO)
The risks that a company faces are becoming more complex and vast. A Chief Risk Officer is an executive who is responsible for identifying, analysing and mitigating risks, both external and internal. Risks include non-compliance with regulations and ransomware attacks (which are becoming more prevalent). In a recent webinar, Frank Figliuzzi, former FBI assistant director, spoke about steps CEOs can take to handle cyber-security threats.
Chief Diversity Officer (CDO)
According to a LinkedIn analysis of almost 100,000 US C-suite executives, Chief Diversity Officer appointments increased at a rate of 84% as a proportion of total C-suite hires in 2020 compared to 2019. The George Floyd murder and the resultant Black Lives Matter protests highlighted the need for corporations to prioritise diversity and inclusivity. The office of the CDO is tasked with facilitating company-wide conversations about race and shaping business strategy to include diversity goals. CDO of US insurance group State Farm, Victor Terry says, “The truth of the matter is for any diversity and inclusion initiative to be successful, it has to live in the business, it has to be integrated into everything that we do.”
Chief Wellbeing Officer (CWO)
The need for companies to adopt a more human-centric approach has become increasingly evident since the onset of the pandemic. The core responsibility of a Chief Wellbeing Officer is to create a culture where employees feel supported and feel they are constantly growing and learning. They are responsible for implementing a strategy to improve the health and happiness of the workforce. An Oxford University study found that happy workers are 13% more productive. Paid time off, mental healthcare, child daycare and exercise programmes are some of the means used to achieve greater employee wellbeing.
Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO)
Consumers are increasingly wanting to do business with companies with a good track record regarding their treatment of the environment. A Chief Sustainability Officer takes a company beyond just complying with regulations, to proactively setting strategies to address climate change. CSO appointments have grown exponentially over the past decade – up 228% since 2011, with 2020 seeing a boom in CSO positions.
These additional C-suite roles are indicative of an organisation’s commitment to the area each role represents. The exact make-up of the C-suite is dependent on the size and type of company. The business landscape has changed since the days of the Big Three C-Suite roles and it would be advisable for companies to consider what additional C-suite roles would best suit the direction in which their organisation is heading.
By Faeeza Khan
Does your organisation have any of the above C-suite roles?
Are there any areas of business that you want to improve on that would be served by appointing a dedicated C-suite executive?
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