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Successful Digital Transformation: Chief Digital Officer as change agent

Patrick Hoffstetter, chief digital officer at Renault and director of the Renault Digital Factory, and Tanya Cordrey, former chief digital officer at Guardian News and Media (GNM), talk to Spencer Stuart about guiding their organisations through digital transformation. In this video, Hoffstetter and Cordrey discuss how change management is a core expectation of the CDO, who plays a coordinating role, ensuring that all the elements that digital transformation requires are in place. However, support is needed across the organisation – digital must be everybody’s job.


Video Transcript


One of main challenges for the CDO is to find the right balance between innovation, change and disruption, and at the same time being at the core of the business, at the service of the different divisions, and more importantly at the service of the different regions and markets. If you are merging yourself too easily and too quickly in the steady ecosystem, organisation, strategy and way of doing things, then you are not playing your role as a CDO because one of the core expectations of the CDO is this notion of change management – bringing new ideas, internally and externally vis-à-vis our partners like our distribution network, for example, and basically helping. It’s really a coordination role, making sure that all the elements, of organisation and means, are in place to conduct this transformation which, especially in big industrial corporations like Renault, are going to take some time. It’s change management where you need to react quickly, but with the long term view.


I’m often asked, is the role of the CDO that of a change agent – of course it is, but the CDO can’t be the only change agent. They need support from across the organisation. Digital has to be everybody’s job. They need support from the boss, the CEO, they need support from their peers and they need support from their team.

With hindsight, when I think back about the journey of The Guardian, I probably didn’t realise quite how tough the journey would be on those fantastic people we hired from the likes of Amazon, Facebook, Google, Skype. They came from pure digital environments to a legacy business that was doing digital transformation. They became change agents themselves. They knew they would be playing that role, but it actually ended up being far more time-consuming and probably far more emotionally tiring than we ever thought when we embarked upon that journey.

For additional chief digital officer insights, view other videos in the series.

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