Joseph A. DeFeo, Chairman Juran Institute TITLE: Wanted! Chief Quality Officers

Title: Wanted! Chief Quality Officers



It’s time the Chief Quality Officer (CQO) entered the C-Suite as an expert role just as critical as the CFO and CTO.  The Chief Quality Officer: Past, Present and Future: From Juran and Sandholm, to Sorqvist and DeFeo, to the next generation of experts. A look at how the future is shaped by the past.


What exactly is a Chief Quality Officer responsible for?  A Chief Quality Officer is the most senior person in an organization responsible for managing quality or product and processes across an enterprise. Dr. Juran and Dr. Sandholm described the position as similar to the Chief Finance Officer in that they both are seen by the organization as the most trusted expert on their particular area of expertise. For the CFO it would be all things financial. For the CQO it would be all things quality and business excellence. 


So why isn’t the Chief Quality Officer a more common position?

The CQO position has been held by many and has been developing over the past three decades. In my opinion, this position must become universally recognized by business leaders everywhere. Why? Because quality (and the price you pay for that level of quality) is still the most important driver of customer delight when one buys a product or uses a service. It is quality that matters to them. Additionally the cost of quality and its subset the cost of poor quality are the financial reasons why CQO positions are needed. They are needed to help leadership prioritize quality management and operational excellence methods and people to focus on what matters most. Too often quality functions and continuous improvement functions are not in sync. This results in sub-optimal performance and a lot of infighting. I also do not care if it is called CQO for Quality. Or CEO for Chief Excellence Officer. The role and responsibilities are what matters. For this publication and for my own simplicity I will use CQO.

Today’s Advisors, Sorqvist and DeFeo and we are sure some of you here this week that there  are three distinct roles a CQO must play:

■ The Strategist for Enterprise Wide Quality and Business Excellence

■ The Advisor to Leadership’s Role in Driving to a Culture of Excellence

■ The Leader of the Quality Function to drive day to day operations.



Dr. Joseph A. DeFeo, Chairman Juran Institute, is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on transformational change and breakthrough quality management. For 33 years, Dr. DeFeo has worked as a trusted advisor helping business leaders increase sales, reduce costs and improve its customer experience through the deployment of performance excellence programs. These include Enterprise Quality Management, Lean, Six Sigma, Strategy Deployment and Change Management.


Dr. DeFeo has authored four popular texts. The most recent being the 7th Edition of Juran’s Quality Handbook, The Complete Guide to Performance Excellence; the “go to” resource for quality management and performance improvement leaders, co-authored with Dr. Joseph M. Juran. DeFeo’s mission is to educate on the value of relentlessly pursuing customer focus and business integrity. Bot will lead to great business results and world class status. A frequent motivational guest speaker at international conferences, Dr. DeFeo has presented in over 43 countries.