As early as 2000, people like me have been saying that it would be just a matter of time before corporations added a Chief Globalization Officer to their ranks. It was an easy prediction to make, but the timing was the big question mark.
That time appears to be now.
Late last year, Cisco appointed Wim Elfink as the company’s (and America’s) first CGO. Wim will be based out of India and will manage the company’s new Globalization Center East. Wim was previously VP of Customer Advocacy, which is a clear sign that this position is as much about serving customers around the world as it is about development of global products and services.
Growing pains are to be expected, particularly as territory lines are redrawn between the CMO and CIO. But these are details. The big picture has been drawn, and it now includes a CGO.
The CGO is much more than a symbolic gesture. It is a sign of a company that understands that successful globalization begins at the top.
Cisco may the be the first to see the importance of a CGO; it certainly will not be the last.
PS: Here’s a recent AP article on Cisco’s CGO and what it will mean to other companies.