10 new roles to add to your Board in 2020

Say hi to your new board

According to a new report by Accenture, companies are becoming increasingly aware of the need to change things up in the boardroom. 55% believe they must re-skill their C-Suite, and 46% that they have to bring in new talent. 

Several companies have responded by creating new board roles. Facebook just employed a Chief Privacy Officer. PwC and Roche now have a Chief Purpose Officer. What other new roles might profitably augment tomorrow’s C-Suite? Trends suggest two areas will be key. As employees become ever more important, we’ll say goodbye CHRO, and hello to a host of specialist employee-focused roles. And as ‘business unusual’ becomes the norm, companies will need boardroom help to anticipate the Black Swans of tomorrow. 


Chief of Employee Brand

As cross-sector competition for mind- and wallet-share grows, consumer branding is increasingly important. But a company’s employee brand – how it appears to both its current and potential workforce – could soon become almost as important. Organisations are finding it harder to attract the right, specialist workforce. And the audience of potential employees is growing with the rise of freelancing and portfolio careers. A strong employee brand will help with both.


Chief Automation Integration Officer 

Many experts think the impact of AI – autonomous vehicles, customer service bots, smart 3D manufacture – will trigger a whole new Industrial Revolution. Successfully integrating it into current systems, from production to distribution, will be key. Others think AI’s future will be more about Augmented than Artificial Intelligence: humans and computers working together. If such human/machine hybrids become a bigger part of the workforce, maybe the CAIO will need a Head of Cyborg Liaison? 


Chief Fusion Officer

Whether or not it includes cyborgs, tomorrow’s workforce will certainly involve a broader range of actors. Such a blended workforce will be key to future business success: the right fusion of full-time, part-time and consultant staff. As the proportion of ‘externals’ rises, companies will need someone to ensure they feel well integrated into the workforce. Especially as workforces become more cosmopolitan in terms of age, generation and culture. It’s a role that will land grab from the traditional HR remit. The CFuO’s teams will handle the journey from Employer Brand awareness, to recruitment, onboarding and retention. 


Chief Enablement Officer

Almost half of UK businesses now allow Bring Your Own Device. The rise of the blended workforce will see that figure grow exponentially. With fewer employees ‘locked into’ a single workplace system, the role of IT departments will change. They’ll increasingly be about ‘enabling’ already tech-savvy, independently configured workers: simplifying the process of linking, communicating and sharing, and of course safeguarding company and employee data security. 


Chief of Joy

Another area of employees’ lives where corporate enablement will grow is health. As more companies realise the importance of health to productivity rates, we’ll see more wellbeing roles on the board. But it’s not just physical health. Mental and emotional health are key to engagement and productivity too. Forget Chief Happiness Officer. In this Marie Kondo era, companies need to ‘spark joy’. US bank Sun Trust has gone further and created a senior role overseeing employee’s financial wellbeing.


Chief of Scenario Planning

Rapid growth in the rate of technological and consumer change has seen companies create more senior roles around innovation and insight. The recent rise in political and economic volatility, from trade wars to the climate crisis, is likely to drive new demand for senior roles around geopolitical trend prediction. Smart CSPs won’t need to be seers, offering a single, guaranteed prediction. Just narrowing down the future into the most likely scenarios will enable the board to identify strategies that will work across all. 


Chief Trending Officer

It’s not just socio-economic changes that can impact profitability. Public opinion can matter too. Enter the CTrO. They’ll keep the board abreast of small scale but important opinion shifts, fed by data from a complex network of sources: early adopters to Social influencers, box office receipts to the hottest new online memes.


Chief of Competitive Landscape 

Most smart companies already have a function that scans competitor activity, typically embedded in Sales or Insight. But as boundaries around leisure and retail sectors blur, it will be harder – and more important – to identify tomorrow’s challengers. The CCL will need to determine which unlikely brands or sectors might possibly steal away wallet share. They’ll also need to consider how best to respond. As co-opetition becomes a smarter option, finding ways to team up with potential competitors will be a key part of the role.


Chief Footprint Officer

As concerns over climate change grow, governments will likely impose tougher penalties for environmental irresponsibility. Sustainability will enter the boardroom via the CFoO, who’ll monitor and align cross-departmental activity. Their team will model the potential environmental impact of any new strategy: business travel to use of water in manufacture, the energy drain caused by extended working hours to a new building’s ability to attract bees. 


Chief of Social Credit Score

If governments widen their social responsibility legislation, as we have seen China do, there might be need of a senior social ratings role. The role won’t be easy. They’ll potentially need to monitor not just company responsibility but also employees’ behaviours, in and out of work, and even their social media profiles.