Chief learning officer

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A Chief Learning Officer (CLO) is the highest-ranking corporate officer in charge of learning management. CLOs can be experts in corporate or personal training, with degrees in education, instructional design, business or similar fields.

Qualified CLOs should be able to drive the corporate strategy and align the development of people with the business goals of the organization. A full complement of skills, from business analytics, technology, learning theory, performance consulting and scientific inquiry are important for success.[1] The CLO may report directly to the CEO, but may also report to the Head of HR or Chief Talent Officer.


  • The first CLOs

In the 1990s, Jack Welch, then CEO of GE made Steve Kerr his CLO, making GE the first company to have such an officer.[2] Steve Kerr also became the CLO and Managing Director for Goldman Sachs

  • Promoting the concept

At a recent (CLO) summit in Mumbai, guest speaker Emma Cunis, executive director of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), was part of a panel that discussed the cost of not investing in executive learning and development (L&D). She quoted former General Electric CEO Jack Welch to make her case: “The Jack Welch of the future cannot be like me. I spent my entire career in the United States. The next head of General Electric will be someone who spent time in Bombay, in Hong Kong, in Buenos Aires…. We have to send our best and brightest overseas and make sure they have the training that will allow them to be global leaders who will make GE flourish in the future." [3]

Doctoral Program[edit]

The University of Pennsylvania has their own Doctoral Program under their Graduate School of Education called the PennCLO Executive Doctoral Program. It specially prepares the Chief Learning Officers and other senior-level Human Capital Executives for success in their role as learning and talent development leaders.[4]