The Need for a Chief Portfolio Officer in Organizations

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Pieter Steyn


A recent IBM survey found consensus among chief executive officers that organisations are bombarded by change and many are struggling to cope with the transformation. The gap between expected change and the ability to manage the required transformation has almost tripled since IBM’s previous study in 2006. CEOs are moving aggressively towards global business designs, deeply changing capabilities, and partnering more extensively. This trend has great significance for the program approach to managing the enterprise value chain. It necessitates the introduction of cross-functional program management structures to create synergy in monitoring and controlling operations. To succeed, CEOs and the full staff complement of the enterprise of the future need to be well versed in the principles of project, program and portfolio management. Importantly, as program offices in the organisational structure grow in numbers, the need for an executive position to which portfolio managers report increases. It would be unthinkable that they all report to the CEO who, according to the IBM survey, is already “bombarded by change” and “struggling to cope”. The emergent role of chief portfolio officer, or CPO, aims to solve this problem

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