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An IRM guide to the recruitment of great Chief Risk Officers and other senior risk professionals

English and German translations available

The IRM has released new guidance on hiring for the most senior risk positions. It also remarks on a shortage of candidates for senior level positions and calls on organisations to ensure that their professional development schemes and succession plans nurture sufficient talent for the future. IRM is also introducing a new advisory service to provide candidate assessment support for organisations around the world seeking to make top level risk appointments.

The guidance was officially launched today at IRM’s annual Risk Leaders Conference where a panel of experts also discussed recruiting and career development issues for the profession as a whole.

The new guidance is based on IRM’s professional standards and is aimed at organisations of all types seeking to recruit a Chief Risk Officer (CRO), perhaps their first, or to make other senior risk appointments. By CRO is meant the most senior executive in the organisation with responsibility and accountability for risk management, whatever their actual job title. In some sectors, particularly financial services, the role of CRO is stipulated by regulation. Other organisations have come to see the merits of such an appointment as part of a process of maturing their risk management, ensuring it adds value to the business.

The document gives guidance on:

  • Understanding the context of the CRO appointment
  • Identifying the key skills and attributes
  • The recruitment process and how to assess candidates

IRM has worked with recruitment experts to combine an understanding of risk management expertise with guidance on how to go about a modern recruitment process.


Socrates Coudounaris, BEng (Hons) MSc FCII CFIRM, Chair of the IRM explains:

Effective risk leadership is an essential component of a healthy risk culture. Corporate governance codes around the world have underlined that you must have the right people and resources in place. Organisations face new risks and opportunities associated with digital disruption, geo-political and economic volatility, environmental responsibilities and social change. Ultimately, the responsibility for risk management rests with the board, but that board needs to have confidence that they are delegating day-to-day responsibility to a suitably competent person, who will also be responsible for giving them the highest quality advice to support risk based decision making. Risk management is changing fast and CROs must be up to the challenge. We are delighted to be able to offer practical guidance and advice to aid in the recruitment process – especially given the importance of this role”.

Recruitment expert Ulrich Seega, the main report author, added, "The aim of this guidance was to bring together today’s best practice in recruitment with the specialist technical knowledge about risk management offered by IRM. Organisations today are looking for CROs who display not only technical expertise at the highest level but also the appropriate behavioural characteristics relating to matters like change and leadership. This guidance will help organisations define what they need and how to go about finding it. 

You can download the English and German documents here. (Short form completion required) 


With thanks to the IRM CRO Report project team

Ulrich Seega (author), Managing Director SANDPartners

Emma Fowler, IRM Honorary Life Member, Founder, Areté Ventures Group

Alex Hindson CFIRM, Chief Risk Officer, Argo Group

Doug Smith, IRM Specialist Advisor and former Chief Examiner

Barbara Amponsah-Abedi FCIEA, IRM Director of Qualifications and Student Support

Carolyn Williams CMIRM, IRM Director of Corporate Relations

Posted in News item, Document

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