Chief Growth Officer: Who they are, Why Now and Do you need one?

Why now?

With the appointment of Francisco Crespo as the new “Chief Growth Officer” (CGO) of Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola  together with other FMCGs like Colgate-Palmolive, Coty and Mondelēz have all hired CGOs to “accelerate growth efforts” or to “bring focus and growth to our platforms”.

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(by RR Associates)

One of the reasons I think we just can know by simply just looking at its name: for growing the company. But why? Because growing now is not the easy task as before. For such FMCG companies, as the other name that we can call them as “epic marketers”, they rely on their marketing techniques to grow and earn profits. But why this role does not belong to the Chief Marketing Officer? Maybe the CEO does not trust the CMOs anymore for such role or the CMOs could not deliver what the CEOs expect?

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(by RR Associates)

According to the Accenture Strategy Research, CMOs spend just 37% of their time on innovation and just 30% see themselves as cutting-edge marketing innovators. CMOs may have different understanding of what they are expected or they could not focus on driving growth because of their traditional function? Maybe both. And their CEOs could not wait any longer to drive growth for their companies.

As Michael Koziol, international president at global brand experience agency Huge, mentioned “As long as marketers continue to position themselves as experts in advertising, brand positioning, millennials and the latest digital fads – instead of being growth drivers – we’ll see more CMO positions disappear.”

Welcome to the new exciting role.

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(by RR Associates)

CGO’s Role

Even the fact that CGO title is named by only a few companies, the role of growing companies have long history. They have various names such as Chief (New) Business Development Officer, Chief Strategy Officer…

But who can become the CGO? According to RR & Associates,  CGOs must have the marketing and brand building expertise to make the consumer the focal point of the business and the P&L experience that brings credibility and commercial grounding.

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By placing the chief growth officer as a direct report to the CEO, the CMO, may remain on the executive committee, they no longer are reporting directly to the CEO.

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Do you need CGO?

As mentioned by RR Associates, you consider a CGO by looking at such questions:

Does your company culture reflect today’s market reality?

                + Are best practices shared across your company?

                + Is there duplication of activities across your company?

+ Are you bureaucratic rather than agile?

+ Is your innovation additive rather than disruptive?

+ Do your insights and R&D teams inform your new product development and routes to market?

Do your products and services serve evolving consumer needs?

+ Do the bulk of your revenues come from legacy brands in shrinking or sluggish categories?

+ Are you losing market share to products from new categories?

+ How diverse are your business categories in terms of consumer base and channel?

Are your financial and human capital investments future-proof?

+ Do your investments reflect your growth agenda?

+ Are business leaders focusing on short-term targets over long-term profitability?

+ Do you have a strong bench of talent when it comes to CEO succession?

The CGO’s Job Description

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Depending on the companies, there are various way to describe what CGO’s accountabilities and responsibilities.  We can just look at some key lines in their JD to know what they are expected to perform:

Reporting Relationship 

The Chief Growth Officer position reports to the President and Chief Executive Officer and serves as a member of the Senior Executive Team.

Principal Accountabilities 

• Lead and direct the day-to-day activities leading to profitable growth. This includes business development, marketing, product development, and executive management business planning and marketing strategies.

• Provide leadership and direction in setting performance criteria and ensure proper training and development plans for sales and account management resources to ensure creation and maintenance of strategic relationships with clients. Serve as an “environmental compass” to senior management.

• Work with senior leadership on a cross-functional basis to build team relationships aligned with internal and external expectations of business development and service delivery.

• Ensure excellence in standards development, maintenance, and evolution that retains current accounts and positions the company strategically through market analysis and industry assessment for market growth domestically and abroad.

o Analyze historical standards of product/information and report on account vitality rates – growth/attrition.

o Analyze and develop business plans, model financial impact, ROI development, and create financial forecasts/projections.

• Build global brand equity and consistency through multiple promotion and communication industry channels:

o Responsible for presentation venues and educational events – both in person and via the Internet.

o Promote company’s standards and its business value through its publications, Web appearance, and social media efforts.

• Align under the Company brand and lead company’s market-focused managing directors to ensure targeted prioritization of effort and return on investment for commitment dollars.

• Oversee the creation and integration of all key marketing and branding activities to enhance company’s market position.

o Oversee all activities and strategies for marketing campaigns, advertising, communications, public relations, and other promotional efforts, providing overall leadership to market positioning and strategic communication.

o Regularly evaluate market reactions to programs/services to ensure marketing strategies, plans, and actions are consistent with evolving market needs and the competitive environment.

o Establish marketing goals to ensure share of market and profitability of products and services. Develop and execute marketing and sales plans and programs in a fiscally sound manner to ensure goals for growth and expansion of Company products and services are met or exceeded.

• Build a “best in class” collective company marketing sales and business development team. Represent the company through key client visits, presentations, and industry events as appropriate to advance Company’s goals.

o Develop strategy and plans for new business opportunities.

o Identify variances to plan and opportunities to improve performance, efficiency, and productivity to achieve the goals and objectives set by senior leadership.

o Analyze industry trends and information to identify standards, product categories and markets to enter as future sources of growth.

• Identify/evaluate financial feasibility of prospective business opportunities. Develop plans for new ventures that hold potential for a high degree of success from a business development perspective based on customer accounts’ needs and trends in the industry.

• Lead process of defining product strategy and developing product roadmaps and requirement documents. Analyze competitive/market research and customer feedback data.

• Oversee product development and design, execution, and operational sequencing of products from concept to customer. Profitability, customer service, speed-to-market, quality, and focus on compliance requirements are critical to success.

• As a senior executive with Company, demonstrate personal conduct in keeping with Company’s reputation of “excellence,” ensuring Company’s integrity, trust, and reputation in the marketplace with key stakeholders/influencers, including customers, payers, regulators, consumer groups, and internal staff and field surveyors while maintaining alignment with Company’s core values and advancing the goodwill and credibility of Company staff, surveyors, and its accreditation processes.

• Recruit, select, and retain highly qualified professionals.

• Attend board meetings and provide information and actions as directed and consistent with the Company policy governance model.

• Create a working environment where productivity can be sustained and improved, and where innovation and personal growth are encouraged and realized. Provide the leadership necessary to maintain a motivated, productive, and competent team through open communication and delegation of responsibilities and authority. Ensure people are in place to drive business results.

Experience and Qualifications 

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The successful candidate will possess a master’s degree in a health or human services discipline, or a master’s degree in business or public administration, marketing, or related field with an undergraduate degree in health or human services discipline. In addition, this individual will have a minimum of 10 years of progressively higher-level managerial experience with a focus on business development in human services or the equivalent combination of education and experience.

The ideal candidate will possess the following qualifications and experience: 

• Demonstrated success unifying and aligning multiple, unique, yet related products or service lines under a corporate brand, and advancing the value and marketability of such as a branded suite of solutions or services through a variety of channels.

• Experience leading the growth and launch of multiple product lines or business development strategies in an entrepreneurial environment achieving market success and alignment under a common corporate identity.

• Understands the complexity of managing in a neutral impartial accreditation environment. When considering corresponding growth opportunities, must consider the impact on and value to Company’s “balanced stakeholder” communities, persons served, direct business customer, payers and insurers, regulators, and the general public).

• Demonstrated experience and ability in developing and executing highly sophisticated, appropriate, and effective sales and marketing presentations tailored to a variety of audiences.

• Ability to move and inspire people to action through articulate vision and direction, influence, and persuasion. Proven ability to effectively lead cross-functional teams and build processes to deliver results.

• Proven professional skills in written and verbal communication; interpersonal/ relationship-building; planning and project management; creative business development; branding; analytical and problem-solving; influence; persistency; and negotiation.

Personal, Professional, and Leadership Attributes 

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The successful candidate will understand and have a commitment to the philosophy, mission, values, and vision of Company. This key executive will be able to demonstrate these values with his/her leadership practices and will possess personal and professional integrity and display a professional decorum in their representation of the company.

Specifically, the following skills and attributes will be required to be successful in this position: 

• Excellent decision-making skills and strong analytical, strategic planning, and financial acumen required.

• High energy level, superior communication skills, and the charismatic personality needed to gain the respect and confidence of subordinates and key customer contacts.

• An extremely organized, disciplined, hands-on, and process-oriented leader who is not afraid of digging into details when necessary.

• Proactive and action-oriented, assertive, committed, and high-energy with a high level of adaptability.

• Shows respect and sensitivity for cultural differences; promotes a harassment-free environment.

• Strong work ethic, achievement-oriented, and motivated beyond personal interests.

• Strong people management and leadership skills. Highly effective and active communicator who works well with people at all levels.

• Strong business acumen, intelligence, and capacity. Thinks strategically and implements tactically.

• Highly ethical; open leadership style. Actively seeks out and supports collaborative thinking and problem-solving with others in the organization. Does not view collaborative dialogue around decisions as a personal attack on abilities. Coachable.

• Strategic vision and thinking. Ability to position the organization for the future, looking beyond the present situation to conceptualize key trends and identify changing market demands.

• Knowledgeable of how decisions impact all aspects of the business. Approaches his/her work as an interconnected system.

• Creative, innovative, and “out-of-the-box” thinking skills.

• Problem-solves and approaches work from a “return on investment” perspective. Manages difficult or emotional customer situations; responds promptly to customer needs; elicits customer feedback to improve services; responds to requests for service and assistance; meets commitments.

 

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