The Rise of the Hybrid CTO/COO: Why Companies Should Look for Business People First

The importance of business acumen in today's technology-driven world

Posted by Daniel Brody on March 29, 2023 · 6 mins read


The Chief Technology Officer (CTO) role has evolved significantly in today's fast-paced, technology-driven world. As businesses increasingly rely on digital innovation and technology to drive growth, the demand for CTOs with both technical expertise and strong business acumen is rising. The emergence of the hybrid CTO/COO (Chief Operating Officer) role is a testament to the importance of having technology leaders well-versed in strategic business management. This article will explore why companies should prioritize hiring CTOs who are business people first and how this approach can contribute to their overall success.

The Evolution of the CTO Role

Traditionally, CTOs have been responsible for overseeing the technical aspects of a company's operations, such as research and development, product engineering, and IT infrastructure management. While these responsibilities remain essential, the role of a modern CTO now extends far beyond these technical domains. With the digital transformation of industries and the rising importance of data-driven decision-making, CTOs are increasingly expected to take on a more strategic and business-oriented role within their organizations.

As an experienced CTO with a strong background in various sectors, including gambling, healthtech, and fintech, I have witnessed firsthand how the role of a technology leader has evolved. The modern CTO must balance technical expertise with strategic business thinking, which requires understanding various aspects of business operations, from finance and marketing to regulatory compliance and supply chain management.

The Emergence of the Hybrid CTO/COO

The hybrid CTO/COO role has emerged as a response to the evolving demands placed on technology leaders. This role combines the technical responsibilities of a CTO with the operational oversight of a COO, creating a unique position that requires a deep understanding of both technology and business processes.

A hybrid CTO/COO is expected to:
  1. Drive strategic growth and innovation by identifying new market opportunities and leveraging technology to create competitive advantages.
  2. Improve operational efficiency by optimizing processes, streamlining workflows, and implementing cost-effective solutions.
  3. Manage cross-functional teams, fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation that drives business results.
  4. Ensure compliance with industry regulations and security standards while implementing scalable and secure technology solutions.
  5. Develop and maintain strong relationships with partners, vendors, and other stakeholders to support business objectives.

The Benefits of a Business-Focused CTO

Hiring a CTO who is a business person first can have several advantages for a company:

  1. Alignment with business objectives: A business-savvy CTO can better understand the company's strategic goals and align technology initiatives accordingly. This ensures that technology investments are made with a clear purpose and contribute to the organization's overall success.
  2. Improved decision-making: A CTO with a strong business background can leverage data-driven insights to make informed decisions that drive growth and profitability. This enables the company to capitalize on emerging market trends and stay ahead of the competition.
  3. Streamlined operations: By understanding the intricacies of various business functions, a business-focused CTO can identify opportunities to optimize processes, eliminate inefficiencies, and reduce costs. This leads to improved operational efficiency and increased profitability.
  4. Enhanced collaboration: A well-versed CTO in business operations can effectively collaborate with other C-suite executives and cross-functional teams. This fosters a culture of teamwork and innovation, which ultimately drives better business outcomes.
  5. Regulatory and compliance expertise: As industries become more regulated, CTOS must deeply understand the applicable compliance requirements. A business-focused CTO can navigate complex regulatory environments and implement technology solutions that meet industry standards, ensuring the company remains compliant and avoids potential penalties.
  6. Greater adaptability: A CTO with solid business acumen is better equipped to anticipate and respond to changes in the market and industry landscape. This adaptability is essential for companies to remain competitive in today's dynamic business environment.
  7. Increased customer focus: By prioritizing customer needs and understanding the customer journey, a business-savvy CTO can develop and implement technology solutions that enhance the customer experience, leading to higher satisfaction and retention rates.
  8. Stronger vendor relationships: A CTO who understands the importance of strategic partnerships can effectively manage relationships with vendors, negotiate better deals, and ensure that the company gets the most value from its technology investments.
  9. Better risk management: A business-focused CTO can proactively identify and mitigate risks associated with technology investments, ensuring that the company's assets are protected, and potential threats are addressed promptly.
  10. Talent development and retention: A CTO who prioritizes employee growth and fosters a culture of innovation is more likely to attract and retain top talent, which is crucial for maintaining a competitive edge in the technology-driven business world.


The rise of the hybrid CTO/COO role is a testament to the growing importance of technology leaders with technical expertise and business acumen. Companies that prioritize hiring CTOs who are business people first can reap the numerous benefits of having a technology leader who understands the intricacies of business operations and can drive strategic growth and innovation.

As the role of the CTO continues to evolve, companies need to recognize the value of a business-focused technology leader and adapt their hiring strategies accordingly. By doing so, organizations can ensure they have the right talent to navigate the increasingly complex and competitive landscape of the digital age.

Man on Cliff
  • March 29, 2023
  • Brody, Daniel