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What is a Chief Strategy Officer?

By D. Jeffress
Updated Jan 30, 2024
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A chief strategy officer is a corporate executive who helps research, design, and initiate plans for short- and long-term company goals. He or she consults with other executives, managers, and employees to devise the best plans for meeting objectives. Depending on the nature of a company, a chief strategy officer might focus on improving production efforts, organizing new marketing campaigns, or expanding a business into new industrial and geographical regions. By employing strong leadership, communication, and reasoning skills, strategy officers ensure their corporations continue to thrive.

Sound planning is necessary for success in every element of business, and it is typically up to the strategy officer to make the ultimate decision about whether or not to follow through with a proposal. Officers spend a lot of their time reviewing ideas put forth by other managers, but they also conduct independent market research and devise their own approaches to meeting goals. They carefully consider the potential risks and benefits of initiating a new policy before giving any orders.

In many companies, the chief strategy officer is involved in more areas of the business than any other professional besides the executive officer. He or she may look at production policies to determine the need for new equipment, systems, or labor. If a particular product is not selling well, the officer can help determine if it should be improved, marketed differently, or cut altogether. He or she also works to develop effective advertising campaigns, company expansion efforts, and new business acquisitions.

In order to be successful in a chief strategy officer position, a person needs to possess a number of unique personal traits and practical skills. He or she must be able to communicate effectively with fellow executives as well as employees and clients. Computer proficiency is essential, as most presentations, documents, and research efforts are performed electronically. In addition, a chief strategy officer needs to be assertive, rational, organized, and dedicated to advancing company goals.

There are no set educational requirements to become a chief strategy officer, but most professionals at large companies hold master's degrees or higher in business administration. An individual may be able to advance within a company to an executive rank by gaining several years of experience and performing exceptionally well in middle and upper management positions. With ongoing experience and success in the position, a strategy officer may eventually have the chance to become a chief executive officer or president of a corporation.

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Discussion Comments
By Charred — On Aug 05, 2011

@David09 - One thing that I’ve noticed is that as corporations become bigger and bigger, they have needs which cannot be fulfilled by people in traditional roles. I think the chief strategy officer is one such example.

Big companies can afford to create standalone positions that are targeted towards specific tasks. I once worked for a company where I was a policies and procedures coordinator.

I had never heard of such a position before, and I doubt the tasks could not have been performed by someone else, like an analyst or an editor for example. However, it was a big company, and they needed someone dedicated to fill that role.

That’s good for the employee, but I think it can be overkill in some situations, where there simply isn’t enough work to do to require a full time position be created. I admit I had my moments of boredom, but it was a job.

By NathanG — On Aug 05, 2011

@David09 - Well, it’s really up to the company how much authority they want to give to a chief strategy officer. I agree with you that the buck stops with the president.

But some companies may simply not have time to do sufficient market research to make the best decisions. They let the chief strategy officer conduct that research and he shares it with the executives.

By the time it reaches their desks, it’s considered actionable research – as good as gold, and they’re probably inclined to go along with the recommendations.

I’ve seen consultants brought in to organizations and perform the role of a chief strategy officer, at least in a limited sense. They can step back, take an unbiased view of the business, and perform the necessary research and evaluations to help the business make strategic decisions for success going forward.

By David09 — On Aug 04, 2011

Among the many different careers opportunities in human resource management that you could pursue, I think that a chief strategy officer is one of the newest career paths. At least I have never heard of it before, and frankly from the job description, I think a lot of these duties have been lumped together under other roles in the company.

For example, I think that marketing and sales executives would be involved in identifying new markets and also staying up to date on what competitors are doing. I think the president of the company or the chief executive officer would constantly be reevaluating what the company is currently doing, and determining if it lines up with the company’s goals and objectives.

I’m surprised to read that the chief strategy officer makes ultimate decisions. I think it’s up to the president, however, to make any final decisions, not the chief strategy officer.

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