Patrick Hofstetter has been the chief digital officer at Renault since 2011. Such rare length of service makes him a pioneer, as well as a witness to the transformation of this role within the group. Whereas his newly appointed colleagues have crosscutting roles, Hofstetter manages a digital factory, an entity in its own right within the marketing department.
He set up its internal organization and operational processes with the rest of the company. He also established a digital strategy, validated by the executive committee. For Hofstetter, CDOs spur on, start things up, advocate, and basically get the ball rolling: "We’re the drive behind projects since they are then taken over by HR, in-house communication, etc." His team launched an in-house social network, training modules, and a digital academy project.
But digital technology has grown in importance at Renault, which talks increasingly of overall digital transformation. In mid-2013, the digital factory and its CDO, which have a more crosscutting role, joined a new project management team to transform Renault’s worldwide commercial management.
"I was also appointed expert leader,"adds Hofstetter. "Like the thirty or so other experts, I also have a more crosscutting role in my area of expertise: building up customer loyalty, new conquests, and organization." Customer digital clickstreams for connected cars was added to his existing responsibilities on platforms, content, mobile technology and e-commerce. He also contributes as a big data expert.