Five facts you should know about Chief Digital Officers (CDOs) in India

2. The hiring trend is picking up, however

While the numbers are still small—we could compile a list of 21 CDOs—most of them were hired in 2016. As many as 13 of the 21 started their CDO jobs last year. From the rest, all but two are less than two years old in their CDO jobs. That way, 2016 was a decisive turn in the trend. We will be able to say more definitely if the trend is irreversible by the end of 2017.

Significantly, there is not a single CDO we found who has served in the position for more than one company. They are all first generation CDOs. No Indian CDO, from the time we have started tracking, has resigned.

3. No, the CDOs are not dominantly marketing pros

Contrary to the hype, marketing is not the leading claimant to the CDO position. Globally, it is the core business guys—who have handled different parts of the business and understand it thoroughly—have been given the charge of leading the change. India too was treading a similar path. But going by the latest hires, the equation seems to have tilted in favor of tech professionals. Four of the five new hires in the second half of 2016 are tech professionals.

Eight each in our list of CDOs in top companies come from core business while eight come from technology background. There are four marketing professionals while one comes from consulting background.

So, this round seems to have gone in favor of techies. But these are early times yet and numbers are small. So, things may change drastically.

Regrettably, even in this new age position, the gender gap is visible with just two ladies—both marketing professionals—being in the list. No transformation there yet.

All of them are engineers or MBAs or both.

4. They DO NOT belong to the new generation

The CDOs are mostly experienced. More than half have more than 20 years of experience and all but two have more than 15 years of experience. It is understandable as the position is not one of creating disruptive innovation—which the younger lot is typically good at—but carrying the entire organization.   

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