Chief data officer

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A chief data officer (CDO) is a corporate officer responsible for enterprisewide governance and utilization of information as an asset, via data processing, analysis, data mining, information trading and other means. CDOs have various reporting lines including to the Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Chief Information Officer (CIO), Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) or the Chief Strategy Officer (CSO).

Role Disambiguation[edit]

The Chief Data Officer title shares its acronym with the Chief Digital Officer but the two are not the same job. The Chief Data Officer has a significant measure of business responsibility for determining what kinds of information the enterprise will choose to capture, retain and exploit and for what purposes.[1] However. the similar-sounding Chief Information Officer often does not bear that business responsibility, but rather is responsible for the information systems through which data is stored and processed.

History and evolution[edit]

The role of manager for data processing was not elevated to that of senior management prior to the 1980s. As organizations have recognized the importance of information technology as well as business intelligence, data integration, master data management and data processing to the fundamental functioning of everyday business, this role has become more visible and crucial. This role includes defining strategic priorities for the company in the area of data systems and opportunities, identifying new business opportunities pertaining to data, optimizing revenue generation through data, and generally representing data as a strategic business asset at the executive table.

With the rise in service-oriented architectures (SOA), large-scale system integration, and heterogeneous data storage/exchange mechanisms (databases, XML, EDI, etc.), it is necessary to have a high-level individual, who possesses a combination of business knowledge, technical skills, and people skills, guide data strategy. Besides the revenue opportunities, acquisition strategy, and customer data policies, the chief data officer is charged with explaining the strategic value of data and its important role as a business asset and revenue driver to executives, employees, and customers. This contrasts with the older view of data systems as mere back-end IT systems.

More recently, with the adoption of data science the Chief Data Officer is sometimes looked upon as the key strategy person either reporting to the Chief Strategy Officer or serving the role of CSO in lieu of one. This person has the responsibility of measurement along various business lines and consequently defining the strategy for the next growth opportunities, product offerings, markets to pursue, competitors to look at etc. We see this in organizations like Chartis, AllState and Fidelity

Early CDO Appointments[edit]

  • Cathryne Clay Doss of Capital One was appointed chief data officer in 2002.
  • Usama Fayyad, Chief Data Officer and Senior Vice President of Yahoo!, one of the first to officially hold this job title. [2] [3]
  • Thomas Mueller, chief data officer at Allied Management Group.
  • Mario Faria, a director of Boa Vista Serviços, a credit bureau information services company based in São Paulo, Brazil, is the first chief data officer of Latin America and was appointed for the position in 2011.

Notable example CDOs[edit]

  • Usama Fayyad was the first CDO for Yahoo! in 2004-2009 and he is now CDO of Barclays in London since 2013 -- he showed how the role can generate value by creating a $500 million new revenue source based on behavioral Targeting of Ads for Yahoo! in 2008.
  • John Bottega was CDO for CitiGroup's Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB) unit, and later for the New York Federal Reserve.
  • Maria Villar was appointed CDO at Fannie Mae and Justin Magruder was appointed CDO at Freddie Mac in 2007, in the months leading up to the 2008 Credit Crisis to assist the GSE's in implementing new financial control frameworks for risk management. Beth Hyatt succeeded Maria and Diane Schmidt succeeded Justin in 2009.
  • The major US cities of San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Baltimore also have Chief Data Officers.
  • The US Army has a Chief Data Officer
  • The US Federal Communications Commission has several Chief Data Officers
  • The Seattle Children's Hospital has, since 2007, a Chief Data Officer in charge of both a Lab (Bioinformatics and High-throughput Analysis) and Business analytics (strategic development and resource management of the hospital, economic modeling...).
  • Henri Verdier has been appointed in September 2014 Administrateur Général des Données (CDO) of the French Administration, probably the first CDO of a Country.[4]
  • Geraint Lewis, FRCP FFPH is the Chief Data Officer of the National Health Service in England [1].
  • Philip Bourne is associate director for data science at the National Institutes of Health
  • Mike Bracken has been appointed CDO for the UK government in March 2015 [2]

Industry and geographic trends in CDOs[edit]

Many major Banks and Insurance companies, subsequent to the credit crisis of 2008, created the CDO role to ensure data quality and transparency for regulatory and risk management as well as analytic reporting.

Various branches of US Government have CDOs.

The CDO role is far more common in the United States than elsewhere. However several European banks have a CDO.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Piatetsky-Shapiro, Gregory (24 October 2005). "Interview with Usama Fayyad". KDnuggets Newsletter (no. 20) (KDnuggets). KDnuggets. Retrieved 25 December 2010. 
  3. ^ Grey, Dan; Dataconomy, News Publication (14 October 2015). "The Power of Data to Know the World, to Improve the World, and to Change the World". Dataconomy (web) (Dataconomy Media GmbH). Dataconomy. Retrieved 21 December 2015. 
  4. ^ ANDSI - The association of French CIOs

External links[edit]