Every year, Forrester collects and analyzes data about "chief customer officers" (CCOs) to understand who they are, where they come from, and which companies appoint them. Whether they are called "chief customer officer" or have some other title, these leaders occupy positions of power in a diverse range of companies. Our data shows that CCOs exist at some of the world's biggest companies, including at more than 6% of the S&P 500. The role remains largely experimental at this point — the vast majority of the CCOs we researched hold the position for the first time at their companies and have no previous background in customer experience. However, as companies pivot to adapt to the age of the customer, Forrester believes CCOs have the potential to play a critical role as they have: 1) a deep understanding of changing customer needs and expectations; 2) strong professional brands required for leading change; and 3) experience breaking down operational silos across the CX ecosystem.

For more data about CCOs, check out my latest report, "Chief Customer Officer Snapshot, 2014."