Definition

CVO (Chief Visionary Officer)

What is a CVO (Chief Visionary Officer)?

The Chief Visionary Officer is a newer C-suite title where the holder 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.

CVO is being used in corporations to differentiate the holder from other corporate executives, including the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the Chief Financial Officer, the Chief Information Officer and the Chief Technology Officer (CTO).

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.

attributes of successful C-level executives

The history of the Chief Visionary Officer

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 to define his role in the organization. He didn't intend the designation to proliferate across the corporate world in the way that it has.

Chief Visionary Officer job requirements

Everyone from startups to enterprises may bring on a CVO to achieve specific goals including, but not limited to:

  • requiring guidance for major structural changes
  • rapid growth
  • a desire to innovate

While the Chief Visionary Officer job may look different for every organization, essentially, the CVO is expected to contribute to the high-level vision and goals for the organization. Therefore, they must have the same core understanding of the business that the founder and co-founder have, as well as the other executives.

They will be intimately involved in strategic planning, nurturing and fostering working relationships interdepartmentally and with external business partners, and creating accountability measures for leaders across departments.

C-suite officers at corporations
CVO is a title that has joined other officers in the C-suite in recent years.

Other C-level titles

In addition to those mentioned above, other commonly used C-suite job titles include the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Chief Data Officer (CDO).

However, organizations continue to invent new corporate titles at an increasing rate. Examples include Chief Strategy Officer (CSO), Chief Scientific Officer, Chief Product Officer (CPO) and Chief People Officer.

Daniel Quinn Mills, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, claims 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 July 2021

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