Hernan Saenz: The Role of the CTO in a Transformation



A chief transformation officer (CTO) is a relatively new position that has gained prominence in recent years as companies cope with turbulence in their industries and the global economy. Hernan Saenz, a partner with Bain's Transformation practice, describes the benefits of the synergistic relationship between the CTO and CEO.

Read the transcript below.

HERNAN SAENZ: The role of a chief transformation officer didn't used to exist. It used to be quite rare. Over the last few years, with the amount of turbulence in the global economy and across industries, firms have had to transform themselves. And that has created a new role in the executive team: the chief transformation officer.

That role typically is two-in-a-box with the CEO. It's quite synergistic. While the CEO is running Engine 1, the current business, the CTO—or chief transformation officer—is running Engine 2. They start by building it as an architect. As an engineer, they build the pieces of it.

And then once it's moved to the line function, they play the role of coach or mentor. It's actually an exciting career move for a lot of executives. It could be a direct line to an executive general manager position. Or you can actually have a life of transforming businesses.