Chief Digital Officers Grow In Ranks And Prominence

As marketing becomes more and more a data job, the chief digital officer position is increasingly becoming a leadership role. The number of people in CDO roles doubled from 2013 to nearly 1,000 in 2014, continuing a trend of doubling each year, according to data from the CDO Club, which forecasts that the number of global CDOs will double again in 2015, to some 2,000 CDOs by the end of the year.

The ranks of the other CDOs — chief data officer — are growing just as fast, according to the organization, which says there are over 50 new hires in 2014 for a total of 250. The CDO Club — a 1,000-member organization, and the first for C-suite digital leaders, including chief digital officers and chief data officers — projects that this number will also double in 2015. 



The club's founder, David Mathison, presented the data at the third annual CDO Summit this week, sponsored by Capgemini. During his presentation, he said that in the first quarter this year, three CDOs took on the CEO title and four CDOs joined boards. But the group’s data suggests there's a degree of reverse osmosis with 60% of CDOs in the ad sector having previously been CEO, president, general manager, or managing director; and 30% of CDOs in the media sector previously CEO, president, general manager or managing director.

The report said that last year the advertising sector claimed the largest percentage of CDOs, with 36%, followed by media (18%), publishing (13%), nonprofit (10%), retail (7%), financial (4%), and services (4%). Worldwide, 68% of CDOs are located in North America, followed by Europe with 23%; and 6% in Asia. The number of chief digital officers in the United Kingdom has also doubled, from 35 in 2013 to 70 in 2014, per the club's data. 

Over three-quarters of CDOs are male, 70% are Caucasian, and 98% are between 30 and 59 years old, with 54% being between 40 and 49, roughly the same as last year, per the group. And just over half of CDOs hold a bachelor’s degree; 9% have a doctorate.

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