Chief Data Officer salary and job description - What's the role and reporting line of the CDO, and how much does a Chief Data Officer get paid?

The Chief Data Officer is one of the emerging executive roles gaining traction in some sectors, with research firm Gartner's headline-grabbing prediction in 2016 that 90% of large organisations will have a Chief Data Officer role by 2019. [See also: Chief Digital Officer salary and job description - What's the role of the CDO and how much does a Chief Digital Officer get paid?]

The research firm says early adopters of the Chief Data Officer role are pioneering a new organisational function, and furthermore Gartner has predicted that 15% of CDOs will move on to CEO, COO, CMO or other C-level positions by 2020.

Sainsbury's appointed its first Chief Data Officer Andrew Day in October 2016. The UK government named its first Chief Data Officer in Mike Bracken in March 2015, and the Financial Times named Tom Betts as its first ever CDO - with a position on the FT executive board - in September 2015. Their comments about the Chief Data Officer job description, strategy and responsibilities are included below.

Chief Data Officer salary - How much does a Chief Data Officer get paid?

At the start of 2018 recruitment firm Harvey Nash said that the Chief Data Officer role was rapidly evolving, similar to its CDO namesake the Chief Digital Officer, with "a wide range of people calling themselves Chief Data Officer". The global executive search company reported that placements were typically between $170,000 and $300,000 [we have kept all salaries in the currencies in which they were originally reported - ed.]

In January 2018 salary aggregation company PayScale lists an average UK Chief Data Officer salary of £110,000. This figure is $179,039 a year in the US as of January 2018 based on the responses from 90 CDOs, with a median of $176,131. Including benefits, they list the total pay range from $126,941 - $308,613 - a significantly lower top end than figures reported in 2017.

Anecdotally a January 2016 Chief Data Officer job advert "liaising with the COO, CIO and Executive Management team" in a leading financial organisation in London has a starting salary of £200,000 to £250,000. A chief data officer job post in Bristol reporting to the Chief Technology Officer goes up to £100,000, while GCHQ was advertising for a Chief Data Scientist in January 2016 with a top starting salary of £90,000, the same grade as the Deputy CTO and Chief Information Security Officer.

Chief Data Officer job description, role and responsibilities

CIO UK has spoken to a number of Chief Data Officers, while insight from 2014 Experian research, and a follow up in 2015 conducted with executive search and advisory firm Spencer Stuart, offers some insight into CDO hires and why a number of CIOs are looking to bring a Chief Data Officer into their organisation. The inititial research of 250 CIOs and 17 CDOs was followed up with more than 40 Chief Data Officer interviews and helps us understand some of the strategic responsibilities of the Chief Data Officer position from those in the role. With our own research and interviews, here are 25 perspectives on the CDO role from 17 Chief Data Officers and analytics chiefs:

"It's about getting every part of the organisation to be more effective with what they do and democratising data across the organisation where every department has some kind of data DNA running through it. The challenge is to move beyond a centralised data function to a decentralised one, where data becomes part of everyone's responsibility."
Tom Betts, Financial Times Chief Data Officer

"At Sainsbury's, it's a new role so we're working through how we work together. But one of the things that are absolutely clear from the time I've been in the business is that the business is massively collaborative.

"I think most importantly, the role of a CIO and the role of a CDO are very different, but they come together in the technology space in that a CIO is clearly all about technology and a CDO needs to understand technology as an enabler for doing what we do for from an analytics perspective."
Andrew Day, Sainsbury's Chief Data Officer

"The CDO must have the hierarchical clout required to drive change and encourage people to adopt a data-driven approach."
Lt. Col Michael Servaes, Ministry of Defence Chief Data Officer

"CDO role must sit within the business and not from IT. The CDO role is more around data governance, monitoring, data processes, data lifecycle and data sourcing rather than IT and this reflects how it should be structured."
Vincent Benita, BNP Paribas Chief Data Officer

"There are lots of opportunities and dangers in a changing data landscape. If you think of the Chief Data Officer as governance only then you will fail; without delivery and execution it's an impossible job.

"I think 90% of CDOs fail, and if you are not an organisation that is going to let the Chief Data Officer try things and deliver then you will fail."
Usama Fayyad, then Barclays Chief Data Officer

"We're very data focused; we hired a Chief Data Officer in 2015. That's really led to this emphasis on the value of data in the organisation and a great collaboration with technology between the two areas, to get more value out through some of these initiatives. we work quite closely together.

"It means that we can have a common understanding. We can start to tackle the challenges from different aspects. I find it very helpful and it really helps on the innovation culture as well to have that understanding there. It's very positive from my perspective."
Jennifer Rigby, Lloyd's of London CIO

"My role is about how to leverage data to be better marketers as a group, how to use data to be better for our clients, and how to be better for the business."
Stephane Pere, The Economist Chief Data Officer

"We should talk about data as a public asset. The Chief Data Officer is responsible for transforming the management and use of data within Government, by setting standards and principles and opening up data flows across Government, of championing open data and opening up existing government data wherever possible, and of driving the use of data as a tool for making decisions in government, including developing data skills and professional capacity."
Mike Bracken, then UK Government Chief Data Officer

"We have a Chief Data Officer who reports into the Global CIO and provides consumer insight and data analytics leadership to the business. The role is responsible for driving the data and digital agenda at corporate level, but also throughout the organisation. This role owns the group wide data strategy and works in collaboration with our client-facing parts of the business to deliver products for our clients. This is a critical role to our business."
Mike Young, then Dentsu Aegis CIO, now Centrica CIO

"The role of the CDO is to use data to drive value across the business, working transversally to embed this. It's how the CDO wires data into the business to create value - I think that's the key to unlocking data and making it work."
Steve Sacks, Burberry Chief Customer Officer

"Financial Times Chief Data Officer Tom Betts will oversee the strategic use of customer data and research across the organisation. Betts will help identify growth opportunities as well as experimenting and testing new ideas with the aim of building audiences and revenues. In addition to supporting product development, advertising and audience engagement with data insight, Betts and his team will create new tools to democratise the use of data across the business."
Financial Times on the appointment of new Chief Data Officer Tom Betts

"The CDO role is focused on data governance, monitoring, processes, lifecycle and sourcing, rather than technology and therefore should come from within the business not from IT."
Vincent Benita, BNP Paribas Chief Data Officer

"The distinction between classic data and big data is disappearing, in fact I think everything is Big Data now. Every company is a Big Data company, even small companies and dairy farmers.

"I am yet to meet a CIO who has said to me: 'Next year I'm going to want less data storage'. Nobody knows exactly what's going on and the changes are huge."
Usama Fayyad, then Barclays Chief Data Officer

"When creating a new CDO role, organisations need to understand the requirement to change accountability. Clarity of responsibilities should be defined before the role is implemented. Without this clarity other individuals could feel uncomfortable giving up areas of responsibility which in turn could affect the implementation of the CDO role, slowing results and in the worst case – leading to internal conflict."
Matthew Keylock, ex-Net-A-Porter Director of Data Insight

"Despite all the great work that is going on to improve government's use of data, we've lacked the central coordination needed to really move the data agenda forward. Much of the work so far has been delivered as discrete projects, and we need to align our efforts so that we're as effective as possible in using public data for the benefit of citizens and businesses."
Mike Bracken, former UK Government Chief Data Officer

"When I got the job there was no agenda, no goal or job description. I was a sales guy selling banner ads and pages for years so now I'm selling the data vision. I now think of data as a product, data as an enabler, then data as a service and maybe eventually data as a business. Don't think data as a new revenue stream, but a way to reinforce your current business models."
Stephane Pere, The Economist Chief Data Officer

"The CDO needs to be technically aware to avoid relying on others to understand the architecture that is being delivered to support your requirement. This understanding helps the CDO have more strategic conversations."
Hany Choueiri, ex-Bank of England Chief Data Officer

"The organisation must start by admitting it has a problem. The role was created by the exec committee who realised that data was going to be critical going forward, and that the regulators would be very interested. I walked into role with a blank sheet of paper so quite a scary mandate. The key thing we are trying to add is trust from regulatory and trust point of view."
David Grant, Lloyds Banking Group Chief Data Officer

"CDOs are increasingly facing group level and even regional challenges. Syncing different divisions and departments with a shared view of data management will help coordinate a consistent approach."
Vincent Benita, BNP Paribas Chief Data Officer

"Regardless of where the CDO role is placed, there biggest challenge is going to be being able to hold different conversations across a very broad range of stakeholders."
Hany Choueiri, ex-Bank of England Chief Data Officer

"The CDO should be accountable for overall data management within an organisation, but teams that utilise data to derive insight to shape their strategies should take ownership of the data, whether that's by nominating a data steward or every individual focusing on data. The CDO should help provide a framework and support for these individuals to get the most out of their data resource."
Matthew Keylock, ex-Net-A-Porter Director of Data Insight

"I would advise that a data owner in any organisation puts a robust data governance structure in place from which everything else can flow. This will help to drive commercial value and ensure that the organisation is fully compliant."
Nina Barakzai, then Sky Group Head of Data Protection and Privacy

"I was previously in business compliance and data security, and as Chief Data Officer my priorities are security and privacy of data. I work with heads of security and privacy officers for seven counties so we know where our data is. I'm in the middle as CDO, the spider making sure our data is taken care of."
Vanessa Eriksson, TeliaSonera Chief Data Officer

"The chief data officer is the voice of data within a company and represents data as a strategic business asset. Company data is very valuable. In fact, one could argue that there is a very real exchange rate between data and profits, whether you use data intelligently to increase efficiency, increase sales or create new business opportunities entirely. Deeper insight into customer relations, decisions, the market and so on is of tremendous value. To empower IDG Sweden by giving us that insight in an actionable manner ­- through technology, workflow, visibility and compliance - is my ultimate goal."
Henric Jogin, IDG Sweden

"The role of the CDO is evolving fast. In one type of organisation compliance and regulation may lie behind the creation of the role, whereas in another the CDO is there as a response to business model disruption and the need to drive innovation."
Emanuela Aureli, Spencer Stuart

Chief Data Officer reporting line - Who should the Chief Data Officer report to? Should the Chief Data Officer report to the CIO or the CEO?

In Gartner's November 2016 research of 180 Chief Data Officers, the research company found 30% of CDOs reported directly to the CEO and 16% to the CIO. Vice President and Gartner Fellow Debra Logan said that it was preferable to have the CDO reporting somewhere outside of IT. She said that the executive works best when the Chief Data Officer reports to the CEO, but when the CIO has been explicitly involved in creating the job specification and helping recruit the CDO.

Experian's research of Chief Information Officers and Chief Data Officers in December 2015 found a significantly higher 70% of CDOs reported directly to their CEO.

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