A Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) is the person in an organization who is tasked with the strategy and direction of a company or group in areas such as product development, customer service, and marketing. Much like a chief financial officer (CFO) or a chief operating officer (COO), the role of a CCO is an executive position that reports directly to the chief executive officer (CEO). This position is relatively new to the business environment in the early 21st century.
As the Internet has grown and opened up new avenues for organizational expansion, more companies are finding the need for chief commercial officers with a strong marketing background to be increasingly important. These officers will often be directly involved with the marketing campaigns of an organization and typically have the final word on what direction the organization takes in its efforts. A CCO may examine demographic information and sales figures to determine where to focus marketing campaigns. This means he or she will also typically be held responsible for working closely with the chief financial officer and any advertising agencies, branding consultants, and creative teams that have been tapped for work on a specific campaign.
If operating within a company that produces a product, one of the chief commercial officer's duties is to be in touch with, and receive reports from, any engineering teams so he can guide the company's value for the customer. He or she is also directly tasked with overseeing customer service, complaints, and product liability issues. This means a CCO would need to be well versed in the strengths and weaknesses of the company's products. In terms of customer service, a CCO is responsible for every aspect of customer interaction, from policy and procedure in brick and mortar establishments to customer interfaces online. The chief commercial officer is in charge of how the customer experiences the company’s brand and how the company delivers the best possible experience for the customer.
Most chief commercial officer jobs require that a candidate have executive experience, a solid educational track record in a related field, and a strong background in marketing and customer service. A candidate also should have a forward-thinking attitude that takes full advantage of emerging technologies such as the Internet and social media. As with any other executive marketing or customer-service-related position, a CCO should have a solid track record of success in return on investment, because he will need to justify his decisions to the organization's board and shareholders.