New addition to the C-Suite: the CDO

by 16 Jan 2012

In order to show that workplaces are really walking the talk in terms of ensuring diversity, adding a new member to the C-Suite – the chief diversity officer (CDO) – is becoming all the rage.

As firms increasingly see a need to ensure workplace diversity, the role of the CDO has been created to promote fairness and equal opportunities to women and minority groups internally. A CDO’s job description generally includes elements of recruitment, HR, marketing, ethics and legal compliance.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the CDO of Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLC reports directly to the chairman and senior partner. PwC rotates its partners every two years in order to give the position accountability and credibility, said Maria Moats, who recently became the firm’s fifth CDO. “Everyone in the firm knows who the CDO is,” she added.

According to research by executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles, around 60% of Fortune 500 companies currently have a CDO or executive role designated for diversity. Among those in the roles, 65% are female and 37% are African-American. They come from a variety of professional backgrounds, including HR, marketing, finance and operations.

Many CDOs earn salaries equivalent to other senior roles like chief marketing officer or chief legal counsel.

“The C-suite label gives it more stature, certainly, but the real message is that this is a critical initiative to the company,” Heidrick & Struggles partner Billy Dexter said.

 

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