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Does your career plan include reaching a senior leadership position in your field? If you aspire for a seat in the coveted C suite, you need to be a big-picture thinker who can participate in strategic decisions at the highest level.

Required skills vary according to position, industry and organization, but there are a number of common denominators. It boils down to having a strong grasp of business fundamentals, which surpasses even the need for functional or technical expertise. Put another way, the skills you needed to climb to the top won’t suffice once you get there.

Here’s a look at four C-suite roles and the hiring criteria associated with each:

Chief Information Officer (CIO)

A CIO needs to not only understand the latest technology, but also be skillful at applying it to overall business strategy. Professionals who can break down the traditional barriers between business and tech functions are in high demand.

  • An increasing number of companies are seeking “hybrid” CIOs, who have both business savvy and sold experience with analytics, organizational design and infrastructure. A commercial background – knowledge of sales, marketing, logistics or supply chain management, is an added plus.

Chief Marketing & Sales Officer

Since the turn of the century, it’s become more common to combine leadership of sales and marketing functions into one position. A closely related C-suite opportunity is that of chief commercial officer (CCO). More than 200 of these jobs have been created worldwide since 2008.

  • As a chief marketing and sales officer or a CCO, you are the leading point of contact on the commercial side of a business. You need skills and experience in managing innovation, product development, marketing and sales across all digital and bricks-and-mortar platforms.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

The CFO of a company is no longer just a bean counter. Managing an organization’s financials has become increasingly complex. The job involves helping the CEO and other business leaders find new opportunities, and then assessing their strategic and financial merits and risks.

  • Top financial jobs now require far broader backgrounds than in previous eras. These may include experience with capital markets, mergers, and information technology. It also helps to be able to operate globally and to partner well with your non-financial counterparts on growth initiatives.

Chief Supply Chain Management Officer (SCMO)

Supply chain management today links the entire process from start to finish: planning, procurement, manufacturing and operations, and logistics. An SCMO must know all these functions thoroughly and create an environment where they work seamlessly together.

  • Sustainability is an important responsibility associated with this role. Companies are finding they can create value by executing sustainability strategies throughout their supply chains.
  • In the future, SCMOs will be expected to continue pursuing low costs through more diverse sourcing, both onshore and off. Tech savvy is another marketable skill, as they frequently partner with CIOs to develop new ways for their companies to interact with customers and suppliers.

With a nationwide network of clients and close to four decades of experience, no one is more qualified to help you achieve C-suite level status in these areas than the executive search consultants at TRC Professional Solutions. Contact us today for more information.


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