Last week I had the pleasure of attending the NY Chapter of RMA’s Annual Chief Risk Officers Roundtable, which was chaired this year by my good friend, Carl Adams, a past President of the Chapter. The 5 person panel included Risk Officers from Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, HSBC USA, UBS, and GE Capital Corp.
One of Carl’s questions – What skills or qualities are needed to become a good CRO – drew some very insightful responses. Each panelist gave a one or two word answer:
- Good memory
- Strategic Thinking
To me, these are very much the skills that belong to good leaders – CEOs, CFOs or CROs. And in my view, the ability to communicate is probably the most important of those cited. In particular, the ability to communicate the risk values and culture of the organization – both up and down as well as inside and outside of the organization.
Finally, if these leadership qualities are what we want to see in an exemplary CRO, how many of the incumbents today possess these skills? Do we have CRO’s in our financial services industry that demonstrates the kind of leadership implied by these skills? If not, are there more accidents waiting to happen?
If we do see CROs demonstrating strong leadership skills, then we should keep an eye on them. They are well placed to become CEOs of banks or other financial institutions. And that would be a huge endorsement for the risk profession!
President & CEO