The Chief Geopolitical Officer: Guiding Business in a Polarised Global Era

The Chief Geopolitical Officer: Guiding Business in a Polarised Global Era
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The Chief Geopolitical Officer: Guiding Business in a Polarised Global Era

By Jean-Marc Rickli and Richard Lukacs

Key points

  • The influence of geopolitics increasingly permeates every facet of business
    activities, shaping business organisations’ daily operations and requiring
    the development and effective deployment of strategic foresight as a key
    mechanism to manage with this influence.
  • Growing polarisation and the ever-increasing complexity of the international
    system are forcing companies to develop an understanding of
    geopolitical developments, which present at least six different types of
    risks for businesses: operational, reputational, financial, security, and
    those related to market access and sanctions compliance. Geopolitical
    disruption can also lead to a seventh type of risk for some businesses:
    existential risk.
  • Amid an array of executive roles designed to tackle specific challenges,
    instituting a position of chief geopolitical officer (CGO) would significantly
    elevate a business organisation’s comprehension of the profound
    impact that geopolitical dynamics have on its daily operations and
    longer-term strategy.
  • The CGO position should be on par with other C-suite roles such as chief
    risk officer and chief security officer.
  • The CGO’s portfolio should focus primarily on international affairs and
    strategic foresight and anticipation rather than the economic or financial
    aspects of a business.
  • The CGO should also develop communication channels and maintain a
    network of high-level relations with key officials from government and
    international and non-governmental organisations.

Dr Jean-Marc Rickli is the Head of Global and Emerging Risks and the Founder and Director of the Polymath Initiative at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) in Geneva, Switzerland. He is also the co-chair of the NATO Partnership for Peace Consortium Emerging Security Challenges Working Group and is co-curator of the International Security Map of the World Economic Forum’s Strategic Intelligence Platform. He received his PhD in International Relations from Oxford University. His latest book published by Georgetown University Press is entitled Surrogate Warfare: The Transformation of War in the Twenty-first Century.

Richard Lukacs is Senior Programme Officer on Strategic Anticipation and Emerging Risks at the GCSP. He is also a member of the Strategic Advisory Board of the International Risk Management India Affiliate and member of the International Geneva Committee of the Swiss Network of International Studies. He holds an MA in Political Science from the University of Geneva and an MA in Legal Studies from the University of Fribourg.

Disclamer: The views, information and opinions expressed in this publication are the authors’ own and do not necessarily reflect those of the GCSP or the members of its Foundation Council. The GCSP is not responsible for the accuracy of the information.