What Is a Chief Strategy Officer?

Even the most compelling strategy is useless if it isn’t implemented. But in many companies, no one’s driving execution. CEOs, grappling with the complexity of doing business in a global economy, are too overloaded to stay on top of strategy implementation. COOs and CFOs are too wrapped up in day-to-day dealings.

Some companies, including AIG, Kimberly-Clark, Motorola, and Yahoo!, have discovered a way to fill the execution void: hire a chief strategy officer. CSOs ensure corporate strategy gets translated into action, say Breene, Nunes, and Shill. CSOs communicate strategy to people throughout the organization and help them see how their work supports it. They ride herd on change initiatives needed to carry out strategy. And they make sure decisions at all levels align with strategic objectives.

Hire a CSO, and you help your senior team deliver faster, better decisions while building world-class execution capabilities throughout your company.

A chief strategy officer (CSO) is a C-level executive charged with helping to formulate, facilitate and communicate an organization’s strategic initiatives and future goals.

Career advice on becoming a chief strategy officer

Why do businesses need a chief strategist officer?

A CSO helps CEOs manage the intricacy of successfully running a business. The fast-paced digital economy, global, agile, and subject to law and regulation compliance makes the task of CEOs complex.

CEOs and other senior leadership team members face continuously implementing and cultivating and creating robust strategic initiatives to help a company achieve competitive advantages. Resultantly, many organizations understand the complexity of the duties of strategic planning and recognize the need to find a professional to help the CEO structure and execute the strategic initiatives. Some organizations outsource help from strategy consultants. However, the consultants hired are dealing with valuable information, which raises concern, on whether they are the right people.

What is a chief strategist officer?

Chief strategist offers, also known as chief strategists, are executives responsible for assisting chief executive officers with executing, developing, sustaining and communicating the companys initiative. The chief strategist officers report to the chief executive officers (CEO) and work closely with a team of senior leadership and board of directors when developing short-term and long-term strategic initiatives or when guiding companies through a process of business planning.

Professionals serving in this position may have different names, including vice president of an organization and strategy developers.

Disadvantages of outsourcing business consultants

If you want to structure and implement strategic initiatives, you require confidentiality and security from the professionals tasked with the duty. Here are reasons why outsourcing help from consultants may not be a great idea:

Therefore, CSO becomes an essential part of the company. They help create the strategies since they better understand a company, experienced in the task and work closely with CEOs. The CSOs are available at all times and the strategy of a company is safe with them.

The difference between chief strategist officers and chief marketing officers

The role of chief strategist officers (CSOs) is sometimes compared to a chief marketing officer (CMO). Both positions involve developing strategies based on marketing conditions to gain a competitive advantage and generate demand. However, the CMOs roles are designed to create demand, drive the created demand through preference building and awareness stages, while CSOs functions are handling financial matters involving marketing. For example, the CSO focuses on mergers and acquisitions as a supplement to demand generators. In other companies, CMOs play all roles in demand generation.

The job description of chief strategist officers

Suppose you are interested in becoming a chief strategist officer or want to learn more about this role. In that case, the job description will help you understand the responsibilities and requirements for becoming a chief strategist officer. Below you will find job description including:

1. Responsibilities of CSO

A chief strategist officer is responsible for several different duties and roles within an organization. Most of the chief strategist officers jobs involve creating, developing and communicating strategies. The CSO is also responsible for developing the visions of a company and sustaining implementation efforts. The roles of CSOs vary with companies, but here are the common responsibilities:

2. Chief strategist officer skills

Chief strategist officers handle numerous responsibilities to ensure the initiative excels according to developed strategies. Hence, to operate in such a critical role, excellent skills are required. Here are the key skills of a CSO:

3. Desired educational qualifications

To qualify as CSO, you require to pursue degrees in relevant programs and acquire experience before seeking the executive job. Here are the qualifications that most companies consider from CSOs:

4. Salary of a chief strategist officer

5. Work environment

The working time of chief strategist officers is divided between meetings, desk work, on-site research, and conferences. CSOs work for long hours, including weekends and late at night. Thus, you must be willing to work under such conditions. CSOs also spend a lot of time traveling for conferences, meetings and visiting research fields.


What makes a good chief strategy officer?

Chief Strategy Officer Requirements:
  1. Advanced degree in marketing or business development.
  2. 3+ years of strategic experience in a similar environment, management consulting, or investment banking.
  3. Outstanding communication skills, both written and verbal.
  4. Excellent people skills.
  5. Proficient computer skills.

Do chief strategy officers become CEOs?

The CSO must master, or at least be conversant in, a wide variety of skills. These include conducting top quality analysis, learning how to operate across the diverse parts of the company, and asking the questions that lead executives in strategically sound directions.

Is there a chief strategy officer?

According to a 2013 IBM survey, 67% of CEOs named the CSO as a crucial role–second only to the CFO, and more recent examples and studies by major recruiting firms have shown that CSOs had the highest growth in C-Suite positions being directly elevated to the CEO position.

How common is chief strategy officer?

Simply put, a CSO is responsible for developing, communicating and executing the company strategy. But of course, there is nothing simple about achieving all of that. To be more specific, the responsibilities and objectives of a Chief Strategy Officer typically involve the following…

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