Chief Digital Officer Study

Explore our latest findings on the new class of digital leaders.


Have a CDO or equivalent


Of companies based in EMEA have a CDO


Of CDOs have a technology background


Are C-level members


Strategy& has once again analyzed the CDOs at the world’s largest 2,500 public companies.

Faced with organizational challenges, more and more companies are hiring an executive to manage their digital transformation. This year’s report looks into the CDOs role given the company’s digital ambition and includes in-depth interviews with CDOs from leading industries.

Read full study on strategy+business

Global key findings

  • Digital leadership
  • Territory
  • Backgrounds
  • C-Suite

19% of companies we analyzed have a designated CDO (or equivalent). This is a significant increase compared to just 6 percent in 2015.

38% of companies based in Europe, Middle East and Africa have a CDO in place, followed by North America with 23% and Asia-Pacific with 7%.

32% of CDOs have a technology background, a significant increase since last year (14%). 39% have a marketing, sales, and customer service background, down from 53% in 2015.

40% have a C-Level position. Out of the C-Suite members, 67% carry the title Chief Digital Officer.

Detailed findings

CDO study global results
Find out about the new class of digital leaders at the world’s largest 2,500 public companies.

Past studies

Meet our experts


The CDO study identified the world’s 2,500 largest public companies, defined by their market capitalization (from Bloomberg) on July 1, 2016. We then identified the companies among the top 2,500 that have a designated CDO. We define a CDO as that executive, no matter of the title, who has been given the task of putting into practice the digital mission of his or her company or business unit. This could be a member of the C-Suite; variously called the CDO, CTO, CIO, among other roles. However, a company may instead have a vice president or director leading the digitalization efforts. For identifying CDOs or equivalents, we used electronic sources in many languages such as company and executive directories (Avention, BoardEx). Further we studied corporate homepages and business network platforms such as LinkedIn and Xing. For press databases we used Factiva. The determined industry segments, geographic regions, CDO backgrounds and the company market cap were customized Strategy& classifications.


Please see strategy+business magazine for the full report:

The 2017 CDO Study

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