26 April 2017


In order to oversee the different areas of activity, ensure that decisions are made quickly and that the ongoing transformation process proceeds, companies need to create a governance structure, an office dealing exclusively with transformation (TO - Transformation Office).

The TO consists of a number of executives, analysts from Finance and Human Resources, and a member of the company's management team who holds the helm and acts as Chief Transformation Officer (CTO). The group reports regularly to the CEO on progress, highlighting problems encountered and solutions implemented.

But is a CTO really necessary? Couldn't the CEO lead the transformation? There is no doubt: the CEO has the task of leading the company, the CTO has the task of driving change.

But who is the CTO?

The ideal CTO has extensive experience in orchestrating transformation and guiding companies through this process. The CTO should bring a perspective focused on real possibilitiescombining an objective view of the company's best performance and current competencies with a realistic plan that stimulates the different groups to act in a coordinated manner.

This is a very challenging role since from day one the CTO has to inspire trust and seriousness necessary to motivate the rest of the organisation, especially when the going gets tough. He must be able to judge scrupulously and rely on his instincts to understand how and how far to push others to reach their full potential. The CTO must possess analytical skills to be able to conduct even the most complex analyses of the most difficult business situations.

In essence, must be an extension of the CEO and thus also have the mandate and authority to deal with all levers and influence decisions on personnel, investments and activities.

Since many organisations do not have a figure in-house who meets these qualifications and is prepared to intervene and maintain objectivity, the CTO often comes from outside. Although the leaders of a company may experience the intervention of an outsider with apprehension, the latter's ability to see business with new and fresh eyes and to make decisions without being bound by internal policies is one of the most successful factors for a CTO.