The Futurist Role That Chief Talent Officers Are Suddenly Taking On

New research from Leathwaite confirms the increasing significance that chief talent officers are having on business strategy and value creation. Drew Seaman, managing director at Hunt Scanlon Ventures, takes a closer look with Leathwaite partner Tim Spriggs.

May 30, 2024 – As talent becomes increasingly recognized as the crucial lever in the broader success and value of a company, the significance of the chief talent officer role has grown exponentially.

Chief executives and boards now concede the influence that talent plays in executing broad business objectives. And, according to a new report from Leathwaite, with this shift more leaders are pinning their plans on strategic talent leaders as people move center stage on the growth agenda.

“Having a clear talent strategy with a strong leader to spearhead and carry it out is key to the implementation and success of broader company goals,” said Leathwaite partner Tim Spriggs. He noted that progressive talent functions that establish a strong foundation can then venture into disruptive territories, exploring innovative approaches and even leveraging AI capabilities.

Complexities Around Modern Talent

Based in the executive search firm’s London office, Mr. Spriggs serves as a key member of Leathwaite’s global HR practice. He brings over 15 years of recruiting and advisory experience in human resources and human capital across a wide range of industries in both public and private enterprises.

He often works closely with business leaders and CHROs seeking to add exceptional and unique talent to their leadership teams, often found outside of traditional pools. So it is from this vantage point that he can train his lens on why these functional talent leaders are now in such hot demand.

As technology continues to evolve rapidly and the pressure to deliver value on investments increases, said Mr. Spriggs, the expectations and demands on talent has become even greater and more complex. Enter the chief talent officer.

Related: How to Become a Successful CHRO

“Most organizations today are navigating the need to embark on a longer-term journey that involves integrating AI and cutting-edge technologies,” he said, “with the short-term need of ensuring the function remains practical for today’s business needs.”

7 Qualities and Experiences Needed to be a CHRO
The most common questions that come from executives who aspire to move into their first chief human resources officer (CHRO) role involve what it takes to be a strong and viable candidate. IIC Partners’ people and culture practice group, with consultants collaborating across 40 offices worldwide and, has had the opportunity to interact with many HR executives.

Organizations, he added, are concentrating on the immediate requirements of attracting and retaining specific talent pools, “all the while juxtaposed with the challenge of steering a new, longer-term transformational strategy.”

Integrated Approach

As the role of the chief talent officer becomes more relevant, its scope is increasingly extending, with DE&I and talent acquisition falling under the chief talent officer’s purview. And as the talent value proposition expands its reach is becoming far more sweeping.

“Modern organizations are adopting a more integrated approach to the role,” said Mr. Spriggs, “with over 75 percent incorporating talent acquisition into the position’s general mandate.” That fosters and enables a more holistic approach to talent, he noted.

The degree to which the chief talent officer focuses on certain aspects of talent over others varies based on the size and stage of a company.


“The maturity of the organization can significantly influence the optimal structure,” Mr. Spriggs said. In smaller organizations with a builder focus, “the chief talent officer roles naturally tend to be broader, focusing on the development of culture, values, and leadership standards.”

Related: How CHROs and CPOs Can Become CEOs

Talent acquisition is often segmented in scale-up scenarios and larger technology organizations, he noted. “The overall structure is guided by priorities, workload, capacity, people considerations, and unintended consequences from previous organizational designs,” Mr. Spriggs said.

To be sure, today’s evolving business landscape is witnessing chief talent officers with more unconventional backgrounds.

According to Mr. Spriggs, this includes amalgamating agility, technological and business acumen, stakeholder management, transformation skills, problem-solving capabilities, analytical thinking, and storytelling prowess.

“CTOs are poised to operate as futurists for their organizations,” he said.

All the more reason why their influence on progressive talent agendas is getting recognized more and more by CEOs and boards seeking people leaders who can have a big impact on the strategy, future direction, and value of a business.

Reprinted from with permission from ExitUp!

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Co-CEO, Drew Seaman, Managing Director – Hunt Scanlon Ventures

Share This Article


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments