CDO vs. CIO vs. CTO and CEO: What’s the Difference?

The C-suite, or chief suite, is a new term in the business in recent years, which indicates the highest-ranking senior executives in operation. CDO vs. CIO vs. CTO and CEO are those core parts of the C-suite to manage the organization as a whole.

It might sometimes be mistaken for those top positions with each other. Still, they will be specialized in different roles to maintain a competitive edge and the ultimate goal for a company’s success. Also, they will cooperate to establish a common vision and work towards mutual objectives. 

To have a thorough look at all those top positions in the business, chief digital officer vs chief information officer, and other departments, we will help you make a comparison below.

Chief Digital Officer vs. Chief Information Officer

CDO (Chief Digital Officer)

  1. Definition 

A CDO plays a vital part in digital transformation in an organization. 

They will make the most of modern technology such as mobile apps, virtual goods, data-based information, websites, and social media to create value for a company.   

  • Role

This executive is in charge of transforming traditional paperwork or analog into digital information. They will search for brand foundations, websites, and models to implement and then strengthen the business.

  • Responsibilities

 A CDO has a key responsibility for the operation’s data governance, which is a crucial part of the business industry in the data age nowadays.

They will ensure their customer’s information privacy and accuracy, grow brand loyalty, and broaden their digital access and reach.


  • Definition

A CIO has major priorities for managing the IT strategy and the overall technology system of the organization.

The CIO will make a decision on how efficient a new technology can be and ensure the information will flow smoothly and properly.

  • Role

Since they have evolved from the development of technology and become a prominent part of the organization, they have quickly been on board with other influential company members. 

A CIO controls everything creating policy and strategy, recruitment, and procurement. 

  • Responsibilities

They will take care of all things related to IT fields regarding implementing IT strategies and equipment. It also consists of IT technology and devices. 

Typically, a CIO will be in charge of the organization’s IT service management, including systems maintenance.


In the past, CIOs led the role of CDOs in the business as they were all involved in technology. Still, in today’s industry, many businesses do not hire a CDO for their company and turn to the CIO for help.

That said, there is a growing trend toward hiring a CDO when realizing the potential for digital transformation in the industry is huge. CDOs will be more prevalent in big data, AI, and digitization, so the CIO will then take the helm after all.

Chief Digital Officer Vs. Chief Data Officer

CDO (Chief Data Officer) 

  • Definition

A chief data officer is a senior executive who is on top of data utilization and data management throughout the business.

  • Role

Their role in the business is to control a range of data-related objectives regarding data quality, scientific data, governance, and data analytics.

Eventually, the CIO will analyze the data with some business intelligence to create revenue and results from this process.  

  • Responsibilities

The tasks of a CIO may be listed as the following:

  • Governance: Implementing, searching for data inquiry, then inspecting the data input
  • Operations: identifying the efficiency, effectiveness, and usability of data
  • Innovation: Making the most of the transition of digital information while monitoring the cost and revenue results
  • Analytics: Cooperate with another department to generate ideas on goods, channels, websites, and markets.

Chief Digital Officer vs Chief Data Officer

Though they are all shortened as CDOs, the data officer role has existed for years in the business. In contrast, the digital part has recently grown from nonexistence to a huge trending factor in some large-scale companies.

However, they play different parts in the business. As mentioned, the digital one will transform information digitally and implement compelling digital strategies for customer-facing initiatives. Meanwhile, the other’s responsibility is to work with data. 

Chief Digital Officer Vs. Chief Technology Officer



The CTO will deal with technical strategies and put them into action. They will notice and direct the development of information systems to attain the best ultimate product.


In a business, the CTO will create and design the technology to push the business’s strength and resources. External customers are what the focus is to draw revenues from company goods.


Here are some duties a CTO will have:

  • Establishing goals and then aligning them with business goals
  • Working directly with vendors to improve products to get the final ultimate results
  • Growing targets with revenues from external customers


As CTO’s role is essential for digital marketing and online selling firms, it is typically one of the business’s initial hires and a root department. CDO is clearly the opposite. 

CTO replaced the role of CDO for many years before CDO had officially placed a part in the business. While the CDO functions to grow new technology stacks and digital utilization, the CTO will be the mainstay for driving transformation.

Chief Digital Officer vs. Chief Executive Officer



The CEO is the top senior of the C-suite, who oversees a company’s overall operation. They will be in charge of the governance and development of the whole company.


Sometimes, you can consider the CEO as the person who found the business and established its goal, vision, and mission. He or she will directly manage the company and connect it with the market. As the face of the organization, they are required to be a person with a strong vision and a direction for the whole business.


They will be responsible for the followings:

  • Directing and implementing the operation’s strategies
  • Delegating agendas, other C-suite departments
  • Creating profitable targets
  • Attracting and searching for capital
  • Driving business structure and cooperation
  • Connecting and working closely with the board


The organization is now looking for a CEO with an understanding and mastery of digital transformation, which is a vital role of CDO. If CEOs have the ability to take on the CDO job themselves, they will both have the authority and position to manage the whole business efficiently. That explains why nowadays, many companies are opting for a CEO with CDO’s capability to run an operation. Additionally, many CEOs’ promotions resulted from CDO positions in the past.


It is confusing to differentiate the terms CIO, CTO, CDO, and CEO in a business if you are not really familiar with this field. With this article, we hope you can distinguish them somehow, as we thoroughly listed their definition, role, responsibilities, and comparisons of chief digital officer vs. chief information officer and others.

Based on the company’s scale, it will identify how many top C-level executives are hired. Overall, they will work together towards a mutual goal of expanding the business. The increasing number of chief departments also shows the innovation of the organization’s structure.

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