Blog / Leadership & Transformation

CEO, COO, CFO, CIO, CMO, CTO, Who is Who?

It may sound confusing and a little bit detached, but when talking about CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, we’re ultimately referring to individuals in top positions of an organization.  Each one has their responsibilities and areas of influence within a company as a whole, and it is through this specialization that the best results are achieved. But specialization without collaboration is no good deal. Ultimately, corporate success lies in teamwork. That is, the ability of individuals to work together toward a common vision, and to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. In that sense, the top positions are essential to establishing priorities and guiding teams. And this is even more important in the context of the rapid technological changes we are facing today. As businesses undergo digital transformations, they see positive impacts across all levels and departments. Keeping up to speed with the latest digital tools and applying innovative methodologies needs a clear flow chart of work with firm (yet flexible) hands on the helm. So, who is who?

The Chief Executive Officer is the person in charge of the management and administrative direction of the organization. In most cases, the CEO is also the founder and drives the purpose, vision, and mission of the company. Responsible for connecting the business with the market, having the final say in budgeting investment decisions, and directing the company’s strategies.

Acting as the executing hand of a CEO, the Chief Operating Officer is in charge of the day-to-day administration and operation of the business. He is mainly focused on executing the company’s business plan, according to the established business model. COOs often design operations strategies, communicate policies to employees, and help build core teams.

The Chief Marketing Officer is responsible for marketing activities, including sales management, product development, advertising, market research, and customer service. With a focus on maintaining quality service through communication and aligning the interests of all departments to optimize marketing activities.It devises marketing plans and ensures his team executes them.

The Chief Financial Officer, also known as the Financial Director, is in charge of the economic and financial planning of the company. CFOs decide when and where to invest and assess the risks in order to increase the value of the company. Contributes financial knowledge accounting and provides a general and analytical look at the business.

The Chief Information Officer looks after the systems of the company that are related to information technology at the process level and from the point of view of planning. The CIO analyzes the benefits new technologies can offer, identify which ones are more interesting, and evaluate its operation. The CIO focuses on improving the efficiency of internal processes to ensure information flows accordingly.

The Chief Technology Officer oversees the development and correct operation of information systems from the point of view of execution. Generally responsible for the technical teams and implementing new strategies to improve the final product. The key difference is that a CTO is responsible for the technology strategy to improve the final product.

With the rise of new communication channels such as social media, the role of the CCO is becoming important. The Chief Communications Officer is responsible for managing corporate reputation, contacting the media, and developing Branding strategies. His main function is to establish media relationships to guarantee brand awareness and positive imaging. With the rise of new communication channels such as social media, the role of the CCO is becoming important.

The increasing amount of new innovations in the digital ecosystem prompted the creation of the new role of Chief Digital Officer. The CDO is in charge of the transformation of the company towards a digital environment. He will be responsible for finding new opportunities within the digital sphere that will help the company reach the objectives of the digital era.

The Chief Security Officer is the responsible executive for the company’s physical and digital security. With the increasing number of cyber attacks, this role has become an important one on the c-suite level. His main role is to provide executive leadership and oversee the risk assessment prioritizing the company’s activities toward this effectiveness. Thus, he will devise plans and contingencies to avoid cyber attacks.

The Chief Procurement Officer is responsible for sourcing, supply chain management, and procurement for the company. He also has to ensure that the organization is adhering to the policies and procedures and that the expenses within the organization are cost-effective. This position has increased significance in corporations, and the role is thought to have grown more strategic in the last years.T

he CGO, or Chief Green Officer, is the person in charge of implementing and managing the corporation’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and is also called the Chief Environmental Commitment Officer (CECO). The CGO will also be responsible for developing strategic alliances, new products, and environmental stewardship.

That’s the solution to the corporate alphabet soup. Behind each letter there are valuable individuals that make things happen. We've seen it first-hand in our Digital Transformation Program: it is when all individuals  acquire a strategic comprehensive vision of that transformation at all levels and departments that real change takes place.  An integrated and multisectoral approach is always the way forward.

The Global MBA in Digital Business has been designed for professionals who want to foster their technological and decision-making skills and add a differential value to increase their competitiveness in the global market.


Zigurat Global Institute of Technology