RiskMinds: Evolving CRO 2.0

It’s that time of year again, where CROs gather for the annual RiskMinds conference. This year feels different, it really does. For the past few years the agenda, along with risk management in general, has been dominated by financial risk and driven by the regulatory reaction to the global financial crisis. Of course, that’s still there, but featuring more heavily on this year’s agenda are some less familiar topics that challenge CROs to consider the future rather than focussing on the past.

This, I think, illustrates the next huge challenge for CROs everywhere. It feels as though most organisations are finally getting on top of financial risk management, so where does that leave CROs? What’s their role now? How do they stay relevant to their organisation?

For years, the value that CROs deliver to the organisation has been patently clear – they’ve been at the front line. If they fail, it’s pretty obvious; so, too, is it when they succeed. But as time goes on and the role of the CRO is directed to a wider and more esoteric range of (nevertheless critically important) risks, proving their worth becomes far less straightforward.

For CROs that were hired for their technical expertise in assessing and managing financial risk, the ‘fluffier’ non-financial risks such as cyber, reputation and conduct risk present a new paradigm. There are the operational challenges: What do I need to put in place to make sure we see these risks coming? How do I best measure these hard-to-define risks? Do I have the skills I need in my team? But these are joined by a myriad of other considerations in the post-financial crisis age: we’re in a reasonably steady state now, so the pressure to keep a lid on costs is intense – how can that best be done? How can I make the most of innovation and automation?

And on top of all this there’s also the personal dimension: How can I be sure that my performance will be seen and appreciated in this new world?

It’s very clear to me the value that the CRO brings to an organisation; they provide sound judgement, insight and information that it wouldn’t otherwise access. The role of the CRO is no longer about protection and defence; it’s about helping the business perform to the best of its ability. Welcome to CRO 2.0.

George Stylianides | Global FS Risk Leader
Profile | Email | +44 (0)20 7804 3364
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