Chief Officer

Chief Officers

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Chief Officer Search


Practicus has been supplying organisations like yours with exceptional chief officer talent for over two decades. We deliver experienced and diverse leaders, ensuring you feel confident in realising your ambitions—whether that involves developing new and improved capabilities, undertaking comprehensive organisational overhauls, or navigating significant cultural shifts. Our long-established practice boasts a strong network of seasoned leaders across various sectors, coupled with a proven track record of placing highly effective top-level executives. This depth of experience and breadth of connections positions us ideally to meet your specific executive leadership needs.


We are not just committed to providing diverse leadership talent. We are actually delivering it!

The results of multiple surveys show that we are leading the industry for candidate diversity – ensuring you have the pick of the very best available talent, gain new perspectives and improve representation in the board room. 

Find out more: Practicus candidate diversity

Key findings of Practicus candidate placement diversity

Chief Officer Positions and Roles

We support all major chief officer positions and roles with particular strength in:


Practicus excels in identifying transformative CEOs who align with your vision and drive your organisation towards sustained success. Our meticulous approach ensures the selection of a chief executive officer who meets your needs. 



Practicus specialises in sourcing CFOs who bring robust financial acumen and strategic insight to profoundly enhance your organisation’s financial management and decision-making. Our approach looks at the whole person ensuring also that your Chief Financial Officer also has the leadership skills, vision and emotional intelligence needed for effective management and collaboration with colleagues. 


Practicus is adept at identifying CPOs who will strategically enrich your organisation’s people and culture. Our candidates are leaders in fostering inclusivity and productivity. With our expertise, you can secure a Chief People Officer who enhances engagement across your organisation and drives the success of your people.


Practicus is expert at finding CDOs who transform your data management and analytics strategies. Our candidates are leaders in leveraging data to drive innovation and efficiency. With our guidance, you can appoint a Chief Data Officer who will improve data insights and decision-making at all levels of your organisation. 


Practicus will enable you to rapidly identify and hire a COO who will optimise your operations and strategic implementation. Our candidates excel in enhancing efficiency and scalability. With our support, you can secure a Chief Operations Officer who expertly manages operations and drives your organisation’s growth.

Chief Transformation Officer

Practicus is skilled at identifying Chief Transformation Officers who will successfully lead pivotal change initiatives and drive innovation within your organisation. After all, our heritage is in change and transformation roles and our candidates are adept at navigating complex transformations, ensuring sustainable growth and competitive advantage. With our expertise, you can appoint a Chief Transformation Officer who champions strategic renewal and operational excellence.


Practicus excels in sourcing CTO who spearhead technological innovation and IT strategy. Our candidates are leaders in integrating cutting-edge technology to enhance operational efficiency and business agility. With our expertise, you can secure a Chief Technology Officer who not only masters technological advancements but also propels your organisation into the future.

Chief Medical Officer

Practicus is proficient in identifying Chief Medical Officers who lead healthcare excellence and innovation in your organisation. Our candidates excel in advancing clinical practices and patient care standards. With our expertise, you can appoint a Chief Medical Officer who not only ensures outstanding outcomes but also drives strategic initiatives.


Practicus is adept at finding CMOs who drive dynamic marketing strategies and brand growth. Our candidates excel in harnessing market insights and digital innovation. With our expertise, you can appoint a Chief Marketing Officer who not only enhances brand visibility but also significantly boosts customer engagement and market share.


Practicus specialises in sourcing CISO who strengthen your cybersecurity posture and protect critical information assets. Our candidates are experts in designing robust security frameworks and responding to evolving threats. With our guidance, you can secure a Chief Information Security Officer who not only fortifies your defenses but also ensures compliance and risk management.

What is the role of a chief officer?

he role of a chief officer in an organisation is typically to oversee a specific department or function at the highest level, providing strategic leadership and direction. These senior executives are critical in setting goals, crafting strategies, and ensuring that their area of responsibility aligns with the overall objectives of the organisation.

Each chief officer plays a pivotal role in ensuring that their specific area not only runs efficiently but also supports the broader strategic goals of the organisation, helping to steer the company towards future growth and success.

Each chief officer, depending on their specific title and industry, has distinct responsibilities:

  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO) – Acts as the highest-ranking executive in the company, responsible for making major corporate decisions, managing the overall operations and resources of the company, and acting as the main point of communication between the board of directors and corporate operations.

  • Chief Operations Officer (COO) – Oversees the organisation’s ongoing operations and procedures, focusing on executing the company’s business plan according to the established business model.

  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO) – Manages the financial actions of a company, including tracking cash flow and financial planning as well as analysing the company’s financial strengths and weaknesses and proposing corrective actions.

  • Chief Technology Officer (CTO) – Directs the technology or engineering department, overseeing the development and correct operation of information technology systems and ensuring the technological resources align with the company’s growth needs.

  • Chief Information Officer (CIO) – Similar to the CTO but more focused on information technology and computer systems that support enterprise goals. The CIO often deals with IT-related strategies and implementation.

  • Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) – Responsible for the planning, development, implementation, and monitoring of all the organisation’s marketing and advertising efforts to maximise revenue and grow market share.

  • Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) – Focuses on policies and strategies for human resources management, overseeing staffing, compensation plans, training, and development as well as ensuring compliance with employment and labour laws.

  • Chief Data Officer (CDO) – Oversees data management strategy for the entire organisation, ensuring data accuracy, privacy, and security while leveraging analytics to enable strategic decisions.

  • Chief Security Officer (CSO) or Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) – Responsible for the security posture of the organisation, including physical security and cybersecurity, focusing on protecting business assets from threats.

  • Chief Legal Officer (CLO) or General Counsel – Leads corporate strategic and tactical legal initiatives, providing senior management with effective advice on company strategies and their implementation, managing the legal function.

  • Chief Medical Officer (CMO) – In healthcare, Life Sciences and some charity organisations, the Chief Medical Officer oversees clinical operations, ensuring patient care quality, compliance with regulatory bodies, and the implementation of the latest medical technologies and methodologies. However, in Healthcare organisations there is typically also a Chief Clinical Officer for the clinical environment and the Chief Medical Officer oversees physicians. 

What is a chief officer called?

A chief officer in a corporate setting is typically referred to as a “Chief [Function/Department] Officer”, abbreviated as “CFO,” “CEO,” “CTO,”  depending on their specific area of responsibility. Here are some common titles and their expansions:

  • CEO – Chief Executive Officer
  • COO – Chief Operations Officer
  • CFO – Chief Financial Officer
  • CTO – Chief Technology Officer
  • CIO – Chief Information Officer
  • CMO – Chief Marketing Officer
  • CHRO – Chief Human Resources Officer
  • CDO – Chief Data Officer
  • CISO – Chief Information Security Officer
  • CLO – Chief Legal Officer
  • CMO – Chief Medical Officer (in healthcare settings)

Each title reflects the chief officer’s primary responsibility within the organisation. They are typically part of the executive team and play a key role in strategic decision-making and management at the highest level.

Is chief officer higher than director?

Yes, in most organisational structures, a chief officer typically holds a higher position than a director. Chief officers have a broader, more strategic role, while directors typically have a more focused, operational role within the organisation.

Chief officers are part of the executive team and sit at the top of the corporate hierarchy. They are responsible for leading entire departments or the organisation as a whole, setting strategic direction, and making high-level decisions.

Directors, on the other hand, are generally one level below chief officers. They often manage specific areas within a department or oversee particular aspects of the organisation’s operations. Directors report to chief officers and are responsible for implementing the strategy and directives set by the executive leadership.


What is the title of a chief officer?

The title of a chief officer typically includes the term “Chief” followed by a descriptor of their specific area of responsibility. Each title reflects the chief officer’s primary leadership role within the organisation, overseeing specific functions or departments.

Is chief officer a director?

In corporate terminology, a chief officer and a director have distinct roles, although both are important to the management and governance of an organization.

Chief Officer: This title usually refers to senior executive positions within the company’s management structure, such as CEO (Chief Executive Officer), CFO (Chief Financial Officer), or CTO (Chief Technology Officer). Chief officers are responsible for leading the organization, making strategic decisions, and overseeing the daily operations of their respective departments. They report directly to the board of directors and are responsible for the overall success and direction of the business.

Director: This title can refer to two different roles:

  • Board Director: A member of the board of directors, which is a governing body elected by shareholders to oversee the management and ensure that the company is being run in the best interests of the shareholders. Board directors are not typically involved in the day-to-day operations of the company.
  • Corporate Director: A managerial position, often one level below the executive team, responsible for overseeing a specific department or division within the organization. This type of director implements strategies and policies set by the executive team and manages the activities within their specific area.

While chief officers can also be members of the board of directors, particularly in the case of the CEO, the roles of “chief officer” and “director” serve different functions within the corporate hierarchy.

What is the highest position in a company?

The highest position in a company is typically the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The CEO holds the top executive role and is responsible for the overall operations, leadership, and management of the company. They set the company’s strategy, make major corporate decisions, and manage the overall resources and operations of the business. The CEO reports to the board of directors and is accountable to them for the performance of the company, making this role pivotal in shaping the company’s success and future direction.

Sometimes, people consider the chairman to be the highest position but this is a misunderstanding.

In the corporate hierarchy, the role of the Chairman and the CEO are distinct, and their levels of authority can be considered different in terms of their responsibilities and focus, rather than strictly “higher” or “lower.”

CEO (Chief Executive Officer): The CEO is the highest-ranking executive manager in a company. They have the primary responsibility for managing the company’s operations and resources, implementing strategy, and making the day-to-day decisions. The CEO is responsible for the overall success of the business and reports directly to the board of directors.

Chairman of the Board: The Chairman is the head of the board of directors, which is the governing body elected by shareholders to oversee the management of the company. The Chairman leads the board meetings, facilitates effective communication between the board and the CEO, and ensures that the board effectively governs the organisation’s operations. The Chairman does not manage day-to-day operations but focuses on broader strategic goals and governance issues.

In terms of authority:

  • The CEO is the top executive officer with the highest operational authority within the company.
  • The Chairman is higher in the governance hierarchy, overseeing the board which in turn supervises the CEO.

Thus, while the CEO runs the company, the Chairman leads the board that governs the CEO’s activities. This setup is designed to balance power and enhance accountability within the corporation.

What is the difference between a manager and a chief officer?

In a company, the roles of a manager and a chief officer are distinguished by their levels of responsibility, scope of authority, and position within the corporate hierarchy. It all comes down to the differences between a leader and a manager. Leader’s do the right things, manager’s do things right. Not clear? In plain terms, managers focus on specific operational aspects of an organisation, handling day-to-day management and administrative tasks (“doing things right”), whereas chief officers oversee broader strategic initiatives and have a more significant impact on the overall direction (ensuring the company is “doing the right things” strategically) and leadership of the company


  • Role and Responsibilities: Managers are responsible for overseeing specific teams, projects, or departments. Their primary tasks involve managing day-to-day operations, supervising staff, and ensuring that their team or department meets its short-term goals and deadlines. Managers are directly involved in the tactical execution of company strategies, which includes everything from scheduling and budgeting to quality control and personnel management.
  • Scope of Authority: A manager’s authority is generally confined to their specific area of responsibility, such as a department, project, or team.
  • Position in Hierarchy: Managers typically occupy a middle-tier position in an organisation’s structure. They report to higher-level managers or executives and are seen as the link between the workforce and upper management.

Chief Officer:

  • Role and Responsibilities: Chief officers, such as a Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), or Chief Technology Officer (CTO), hold top executive roles with responsibility for managing and leading entire segments of the organisation or the organisation as a whole. They are responsible for setting strategic goals, making high-level decisions, and directing the company’s overall growth and operational success.
  • Scope of Authority: Chief officers have a broad scope of authority encompassing strategic direction and decision-making for the entire organisation or major parts of it.
  • Position in Hierarchy: Chief officers are at the top of the corporate hierarchy. They report directly to the board of directors and are involved in decision-making processes that affect the entire organisation.

What position under CEO?

The position directly beneath the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) can vary based on the organisational structure of a company, but typically, the following roles are considered just below the CEO in the hierarchy:

  • COO (Chief Operations Officer) – Often viewed as the second-in-command, the COO is responsible for the day-to-day administrative and operational functions of the company. In many organisations, the COO is seen as the CEO’s deputy, handling internal affairs and ensuring the effective execution of business strategies.

  • CFO (Chief Financial Officer) – The CFO manages the financial actions of the company, including financial planning, risk management, record-keeping, and financial reporting. Typically, the CFO reports directly to the CEO and plays a crucial role in developing financial strategies.

  • CIO (Chief Information Officer) / CTO (Chief Technology Officer) – Depending on the company, the CIO or CTO manages the organisation’s technological needs and its information systems. The CIO focuses more on information and computer technology to support the company’s goals, whereas the CTO often deals more with technological development and innovation.

  • CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) – The CMO oversees the organisation’s marketing initiatives. They develop strategies to enhance brand recognition, customer engagement, and market expansion, directly contributing to revenue growth.


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Michael Gater

Head of Delivery

Michael heads up our Executive Search practice. His job title is Head of Delivery because that is exactly what he and his team do for our clients. 

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