Chief Digital Officers Now Attached to More Than $1 Trillion in Global Sales

Over the past ten months – since we last provided a quantitative update on the state of CDO affairs – new chief digital officer appointments have been announced at a steady, if not accelerated, pace. And the total amount of global revenues that CDOs now influence surpasses $1 trillion.

Since October 2014, there have been approximately 25 high-profile announcements — as defined by new positions at companies with more than a $1 billion in sales, or by well-regarded organizations, such as the New York Public Library, which launched a CDO search in July.

With competition for digital-savvy professionals at an all-time high, it’s unsurprising that the pervasiveness of CDOs continues to swell. Their appointments help to calm jittery boards concerned with the pace of digital transformation, and also act as a recruiting tool for talent concerned about an old-line company’s commitment to the digital era.

Other firsts for the CDO community in recent months include:

* A major B2C brand promoted its digital chief to CEO (Art Peck at The Gap)

* One big brand (Barnes & Noble) poached the CDO from another big brand (Toys R Us)

* Technology stalwarts and Forbes 200 members Cisco and SAP appointed CDOs


Insurance & Retail Sectors Have Embraced the Chief Digital Officer

Though CDO ranks continue to swell, there still exists considerable debate as to whether or not introducing another C-level office into the mix is the right way to go. Not so in the insurance and retail industry, however, as six insurers with more than $25 billion in annual sales have chief digital officers, as do more than a dozen retailers – anchored by $100+ billion CVS but also include big brands like American Eagle Outfitters, Barnes & Noble, and Staples.


Stay tuned in the coming weeks and months for additional coverage of the issues, based on analysis of our new database of chief digital officers around the world, including industry-specific analysis and executive profiles.

Tim Bourgeois is the founder of, a global community of senior digital professionals. For information about’s advisory and talent management solutions, email Tim at tbourgeois@chiefdigitalofficer(dot)net.  

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