Chief strategy officer

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A chief strategy officer (CSO), or chief strategist, is an executive who is responsible for assisting the chief executive officer with creating, communicating, executing, and sustaining strategic initiatives within a company or agency.

A typical CSO is not a pure strategist that creates long-term planning that is isolated from the company's current initiatives. Many CSOs are considered "doers" first and have the past experience to help advise and execute. Chief strategy officers are often executives who have worn many hats before at a variety of companies or agencies before taking on the responsibilities and tasks that come with the job title.[1]

Chief strategy officers are responsible for the critical jobs that are the most important aspects of successful strategy execution:

  • Must communicate and implement a company's strategy internally and externally so that all employees, partners, suppliers, and contractors understand the company-wide strategic plan and how it carries out the company's overall goals.
  • Must drive decision-making that creates medium- and long-term improvement.

Today many CEOs have less time to devote to executing strategy. As a result, CEOs are appointing CSOs for their organizations. The CSO position is becoming popular amongst many large multinational Fortune 500 companies, including Oracle Corporation, Panasonic, Accenture, Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks, Cognos, and Global Healthcare Resource, each of whom have created CSO positions in their top management teams.

A chief global strategist (CGS) is one of the highest-ranking corporate officers, administrators, corporate administrators, executives, or executive officers, in charge of the global strategy and the domestic and international expansion of a corporation, company, organization, or agency.

The position is a relatively new one in the private sector and a reflection of the influence of globalization upon companies and other organizations that seek to expand their influence, whether as a matter of necessity to survive or the exploration of an opportunity.

A prominent example is Howard Schultz of Starbucks who was chairman and CEO but in 2000 left the position of CEO to become chief global strategist. Schultz returned to his previous role of chief executive officer on January 18, 2008.[2]


  1. ^ Rise of the Chief Strategy Officer, Outlook Journal, Jan. 2008
  2. ^ [1] Starbucks Company Timeline, URL last accessed July 03, 2012