Definition

CVO (chief visionary officer)

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Careers in information technology: A CIO guide to getting ahead in IT

Chief Visionary Officer (CVO) is a new title being used in corporations to differentiate the holder from other corporate executives including the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), the Chief Information Officer (CIO), and the Chief Technology Officer (CTO). The CVO is expected to have a broad and comprehensive knowledge of all matters related to the business of the organization, as well as the vision required to steer its course into the future. The title is sometimes used to define a higher ranking position than that held by the CEO, and sometimes used to formalize a high-level advisory position. In some cases, the CVO is added to the CEO title (for CEO/CVO status), much in the same way that people with multiple university degrees list them after their names.

The first CVO was Tim Roberts, the young entrepreneurial founder of Broadband Investment Group. Roberts said he invented the title as a rank, superior to CEO, that served to recognize the visionary attributes needed to integrate a complex business with many diverse aspects. Roberts chose the title solely as definitive of his role in the organization, and didn't intend the designation to proliferate across the corporate world in the way that it has.

Corporations continue to invent new titles at an increasing rate - Chief Zoom Officer (CZO), Chief Smart Officer (CSO), and Chief Techie (CT) are a few of the more recent creations. Quinn Mills, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, claims that the proliferation of new titles is being used to attract and retain employees by offering them status - which is free - rather than money.

This was last updated in April 2008

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It is interesting that I have landed on this blog.... I have adopted a 5 word response to "What do you do?" My response simply is: "I help CEOs transition to CVOs."
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I'd prefer all my employees to be visionaries. As to which one might be the chief of them all, we'll let them sort it out.
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