In its latest “2016 Chief Digital Officer” study, Strategy& investigates who is responsible for overseeing digitization within companies. The findings show that a third of Swiss management bodies delegate this task to a Chief Digital Officer (CDO), particularly in the financial industry. The profiles of CDOs vary – but not their role.
The aim of the “2016 Chief Digital Officer” study conducted by Strategy& is to establish who is in charge of the digital transformation in the 2,500 largest listed companies in the world (including 49 in Switzerland). The term CDO refers to senior executives entrusted with the digitization strategy of their company. The evaluation clearly shows that: The Chief Digital Officer is taking the C-suite by storm. Whereas in 2015, 6% of study participants employed a CDO; in 2016 the number had already risen to 19%. 60% of the CDOs questioned were appointed between 2015 and 2016. Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) have the highest CDO density in the world, and the strongest growth (+30%) in the role. Switzerland is ranked fifth in Europe with 33%.
The Swiss financial services industry has clearly recognized the signs of the times, and is deploying the relevant management skills to ensure the consistent implementation of a digital strategy. The financial sector has the highest proportion of CDOs in Switzerland: insurance companies lead the way with 67%, followed by banks with 50%. They are digitizing not only their customer activities, but also their internal processes.
There is no typical CDO. Half of Swiss CDOs are members of the Board of Directors, 38% have individual titles such as “Head of Digital”, 6% hold the position of Vice President, and 6% are Directors. Almost two thirds were recruited from within the company. Only 13% of CDOs are currently female. 38% of CDOs held a previous function in marketing, sales or customer service. A third come with technical baggage, while a quarter have a background in consulting, strategy or business development. The importance of technical experience has increased. In 2016, 32% of CDOs originated from the technical sector. This represents more than twice as many as the previous year.
Dr. Daniel Diemers
Partner Financial Services, Strategy&, Schweiz
+41 58 792 3190