By Alaina Brandenburger

Most businesses will continue employing CEOs for the long-term future, but a changing business landscape has brought a wave of new executive positions. Recently, companies have employed Chief Marketing Officers, Chief Information Officers and other executives to oversee different facets of business. New C-suite positions are emerging to guide your business through the nuances of running a business in the current environment.

Chief Freelance Relationship Officer

One trend that emerged from the financial collapse of 2008 was the development of the “gig” economy. As skilled workers struggled to find full-time employment, many supplemented their income with freelance gigs. Use of freelance workers to complete project-specific tasks has become a popular way for companies to save money. The CFRO is tasked with managing these relationships and enhancing the company’s reputation with potential freelancers. According to a Fast Company Article titled “10 C-Suite Jobs of the Future,” “Fifty-three million Americans, or 34% of the U.S. workforce, are considered contingent, temporary, diversified, or freelance employees today, with that number expected to reach 40% by the year 2020.”

Chief Risk Officer

While risk management was once handled by the legal team, it has become a full-time job. The global economy, digital threats, social media faux pas and more have introduced a host of risks for businesses. CROs must be well versed in these, compliance and other potential risks faced by the company to anticipate potentially damaging events. By assessing constant threats and developing contingency plans, the CRO may prove to be one of your company’s biggest assets.

Chief Data Officer

Gone are the days in which department heads and middle managers had the time to track and manage information and analytics for a company. Data exists in so many channels, that many companies have employed a CDO to track, manage and analyze data that is key to running a business. A article titled, “What is a Chief Data Officer, and Why do Companies Need One?” outlines the position as follows: “The CDO was born as an attempt to create a bridge between functional leaders who need information in real time and the IT department…CDOs are most effective if you have a software system that allows the end user to perform analysis off of the system.”

Chief Privacy Officer

The Insurance Information Institute states that, “$16 billion was stolen from 15.4 million U.S. consumers in 2016, compared with $15.3 billion and 13.1 million victims a year earlier. In the past six years identity thieves have stolen over $107 billion.” As such, consumers are putting increased pressure on companies to protect their personal data. A Chief Privacy Officer’s job is to ensure that employee data and consumer data is protected, monitoring and developing systems to keep criminals from accessing this information.

Chief Diversity Officer

As the population of the country grows increasingly diverse, many of the top Fortune 500 companies have begun hiring Chief Diversity Officers to develop inclusion strategies. A research paper by Dr. Damon A. WIlliams and Dr. Katrina Wade-Golden, published by the University of Cincinnati titled, “What is a Chief Diversity Officer” outlines this emerging role. “Chief diversity officers have responsibility for guiding efforts to conceptualize, define, assess, nurture, and cultivate diversity as an institutional and educational resource. Although duties may include affirmative action/equal employment opportunity, or the constituent needs of minorities, women, and other bounded social identity groups, chief diversity officers define their mission as providing point and coordinating leadership for diversity issues institution-wide.”

Changes to the business landscape have motivated many innovative companies to create high level positions to anticipate and react to them. As the world continues to move forward in the digital age, your company may consider creating these or similar roles.


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