1st Executive Blog

03 Sep New roles in Executive Search?

Posted at 02:10 by

We have been reflecting on the breadth of roles that are now required to be filled by national and
international executive search. As we comment on this would like to invite feedback on some of the
more creative and disruptive executive level job titles that you have seen over the last 5 years.
There was a time when an executive search brief required a search consultant to find a Managing
Director, CEO, CFO, COO or a Marketing Director.

It wasn’t long before technology was no longer in the realm of the CFO and we started to see briefs
around 25 years ago for CIO and CTO. In many ways it was the bringing of the senior technology and
information roles to the C-Suite that pre-empted the kind of disruption that we have seen in
industries in recent years.

Going back about 10 years, there was a lot of talk about the global “War for Talent” and we saw
changes in the nature of human resources management and the kinds of job titles that human
resources executives held. Chief People Officer and Chief Talent Officer were just a couple.

Obviously, there was the emergence of roles with job titles that included People and Culture and the
more financially focused Human Capital Manager. These roles often recognise that the information
age brought the requirement for different types of skill and broad-based competencies. Executive
Search companies could and still do search for these job titles.

The marketing function was split into Marketing and Sales as far back as the 1980s, but the
emergence of the Internet and its impact on marketing has seen the rise of senior executives in
Digital Marketing, Social Media and other related disciplines with a host of extraordinary job titles
reporting to them, along with labels such as Digital Native and Digital Citizen being used to either
describe a cohort born at a certain time, or a mindset – depending on your perspective!


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The Internet of things, which is arguably being the largest actual and potential disruptor to a host of
industries has seen a variety of new job roles emerge. The most fashionable at the moment is the
Chief Digital Transformation Officer as businesses seek to understand just how far technology will go
in terms of changing their business and enhancing (and capturing and analysing) the experiences of
its employees and customers.

Business ethics also took a front row as organisations increasingly focused on the environment and
social responsibility. As businesses seek to engage with Millennials at the levels that report to the C-
Suite, perhaps starting with Apple who use the term Genius for technical customer service roles at
the Genius Bar in the Apple Store, more and more organisations have unearthed creative job titles.
Increasingly we are seeing the disappearance of mere “associates” and “managers” to be replaced
with “Rock Star”, “Ninja”, “Guru” and even “Magician”.

The challenge for the executive search industry as these professionals move into their senior
management careers, now that sophisticated Boolean searching and even AI are used to find people
who may be looking for a new opportunity, is that the technology will need to evolve to find the
range of ever more creative job titles.

We love to hear about the most insightful and the weirdest job titles that you have seen in your
career to date and may even explore this further in a later post.