As companies seek to reboot post Covid, demand for CDOs, CIOs and CFOs rises

MUMBAI: Demand for chief financial officers, chief information officers and chief digital officers are on the rise as companies seek to reboot from the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.Companies are looking for new age CFOs who have an expertise both in operations and can also drive future growth into new business areas, said search industry experts. At the same time, companies are also looking at technology leadership in top management which is leading to the rise in demand for CIOs and CDOs, experts said.“The entire spectrum of business is changing post-Covid. Companies are looking for CFOs who have a deal mindset and can explore new growth areas,” said R Suresh, founder of specialist CXO search firm Insist. “Companies are looking for someone who has a blend of operations and growth experience – someone who can do M&As, debt restructuring, and private equity deals,” said Suresh.“The role of the CFO is also becoming critical because companies need to look at cost optimization and that needs a different set of skill sets,” said Ronesh Puri, managing director, Executive Access.CDOs and CIOs are becoming more critical as most companies are undergoing a digital transformation. “Covid 19 has accelerated the process of digitization by several years and companies are looking for senior leaders who can streamline and strategise their digital transformation,” said Aditya Narayan Mishra, director and CEO of CIEL HR Services. “Online business of most companies are almost 3-10 times of what it was pre-Covid. Hence companies need leadership talent with digital acumen and agility,” said Puri.Search experts said that the overall CXO hiring market is back at 70-80% of the pre-Covid level, with focus on profiles such as sales, technology and finance. “Marketing function still remains muted as not too many brand launches are happening,” said Puri.Industries that have bounced back faster as far as demand for leadership hiring include Fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), manufacturing, ecommerce, automobile and to some extent banking and financial services (BFSI) and insurance. The ones that still remain muted are hospitality, travel and tourism, aviation, among others.“People who are more adaptable and think out-of-the-box are the ones that will command a premium,” said Puri.“There is a lot of focus on CXOs and CEOs who have a technology mindset as digital is no longer limited to technology companies but businesses across sectors are looking at increasing the digital element while lowering human intervention,” said K Sudarshan, managing director, EMA Partners India. “We are looking for a couple of CEOs in the consumer tech space who can look at technology to solve business problems,” he said.
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