Carl Kutsmode is the Senior Vice President of Talent Consulting & Executive Search at TalentRise with over 25 years of industry experience.  Our content team recently asked Carl for his take on the evolution of the C-suite in today’s talent landscape and Carl did not disappoint.

Find out what Carl had to say about the emergence of a “new” C-suite in today’s workforce in this short interview.

Getting to know the new C-suite

Over the past two years, many industries have pivoted their business to survive the pandemic, and C-level leaders have had to solve business challenges they’ve never faced before. This has created a shift in the leadership competencies needed by today’s more agile minded employers.   

In the wake of this evolution, many older C-level executives have been retiring while other, more progressive, younger leaders are taking their newly “pandemic” tested skills and experiences to new organizations. We have also seen a number of new C-suite leadership positions emerge which often combine competencies found formerly in two different leadership roles. To move their business forward, today’s business leaders must be prepared to accommodate this new era of leadership. and how they will ultimately fit into their legacy organizational structures for maximum benefit.

What are a few examples of new C-level positions, what is the unique about the role, and what salary range would they expect to earn?

CARL: Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) is a hybrid role that combines strategic operations, product development, marketing, and sales abilities. I’ve seen a wide range of salaries between $225K and $500K. Previously, this may have been a skillset that resided in a Chief Marketing Officer or Chief Sales Officer, separately. The key benefit of combining elements of these roles into a single CCO role is one of having a more holistic view of the organization’s ability to support commercialization of the companies’ products and services to drive revenue and meet customer/user needs. The role typically requires strong technical knowledge of the industry, product, and services along with strong sales and marketing acumen and experience.

Chief Growth (or Revenue) Officer (CGO or CRO) is a hybrid role that bridges typically siloed departments in B2B organizations of sales, marketing, IT, and business development. CGOs focus on aligning revenue goals with customer preferences, market dynamics, and buyer behaviors. The compensation range for these roles varies widely and ranges from $200K to $350K in base salary plus incentive comp. Startups often offer equity in exchange for lower base compensation.

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Filling seats in the new C-suite

Even before the pandemic, going back to 2017, we’ve seen an increasing number of younger, more diverse talent (women and minorities) in their 40s and 50s take the reins of top jobs. Before that, these positions skewed mainly towards older white men over 60.

What tools, resources, or ideas should business leaders consider when hiring for these positions? Conversely, what skills and competencies should exist among newcomers to the C-suite?

CARL: Firstly, I’d encourage people to look at some impressive statistics about gender diversity and racial and ethnic diversity in the boardroom. Having a more diverse board will cause the company to identify, and seize new opportunities, as well as to embrace inclusive behaviors in their decision making.

As far as tools, I’d recommend the following:

  • Use behavioral and cognitive “Fit” assessment tools like the Predictive Index to add significant insight into the future performance, culture, and team fit of a newly hired leader.

These tools can provide key insights into a person’s:

  • Work style (i.e., traditional vs. innovative or “outside the box”)
  • Level of collaboration in decision making (which is important to today’s younger, diverse generation who crave inclusion)
  • Flexibility to adapt to today’s rapidly changing Covid world

When onboarding a new executive, these assessment insights will help the new leader:

  • Assimilate into the company’s culture
  • Gain insight into other team members’ workstyles
  • Develop the confidence needed to succeed as soon as possible

Again, the Predictive Index is an invaluable talent optimization tool to use here.

In terms of skills, new C-suite leaders should be intuitive leaders who are agile, inclusive, and willing to embrace a remote work model. In today’s highly competitive talent market, many senior leaders who are proven performers have adapted well to working full or partially remote. They enjoy the work life balance they have grown accustomed to and feel that their performance is reflected in KPIs and results and not on whether they show up for work on time every day to do their job in the office.

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