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April 1, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated a trend that began decades ago in some large companies: using digital technology to reshape the ways they invent, produce, distribute, market, sell, support, , hire, manage, and conduct business.

Such changes have also forced these companies to create new jobs at the top. As I explain in my latest article in TCS Perspectives, it’s a veritable reinvention of the C-suite.

For many, these new roles couldn’t come too soon. A TCS 2020 survey of 287 executives at global companies found only about a quarter had key digital capabilities. Only one in four could offer customers an end-to-end digital customer experience. Less than a quarter had highly automated core business processes, and just 21% had struck key digital ecosystem partnerships.

It could very well be that these mandates have fallen between the cracks of traditional C-suite roles, and that making them happen requires relentless focus and accountability. The way some companies have dealt with that is by creating new roles, as I explain in the article.

Forward-thinking companies have a history of adjusting the roles their C-suite executives play to respond to business imperatives. In the article, I point out several new roles that large companies have created over the last decade – including chief experience officer (USAA), chief technology and risk officer (Humana), chief transformation officer (United Parcel Service), and chief customer and employee experience officer (Adobe) – that have made a big difference. I discuss what the people in these roles have helped their organizations accomplish. (By the way, one of these executives became his company’s CEO).

I also discuss three relatively uncommon roles that I believe every company will need in their C-suite this decade, and why: chief talent experience officer, chief reskilling officer, and chief wellness officer.

Many firms have adapted their business operations to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now is the time for leaders to assess the new C-suite roles their companies may need, to accelerate growth and manage risk. I invite you to read my article “Today’s Digital Imperatives Demand C-Suite Reinvention” and ponder whether your organization may need some C-suite renovation too. And it will be good to know your views on the subject too!

Ananth directs Research and Innovation in TCS, India’s largest IT Company. Under his leadership, TCS has created a significant portfolio of patents, papers and IP.

Ananth has served on several Governing Councils of Academia, Industry Advisory boards, and Government committees. He has been a regular invitee to the Board of TCS since 1999.

He was elected a Fellow of INAE in 2013. He was named a Distinguished Alumnus of IIT Delhi in 2009. He has been listed in Computerworld’s Premier 100 IT Leaders (2007), and in Infoworld’s Top 25 CTOs (2007). 

Ananth is an M. Tech. in Computer Science and an M. Sc in Physics from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.

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