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The Changing Role of the CRO

The personnel have changed and responsibilities have broadened for bank chief risk officers.

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Further, as banks have stepped up oversight of risk management, the chief risk officers who remain (or who have been hired recently) are gaining empowerment, adds Baret, who notes that many now report directly to the CEO.

Yet John McLaughlin, senior managing director, Smart Business Advisory, thinks it's possible that not enough bank risk executives were fired in the wake of the subprime fiasco. "Look around," he says. "Have there been any consequences to people making bad decisions?"

Nonetheless, McLaughlin offers some insight into the key skills and qualities of a successful bank risk executive. "Courage is a big asset," he says. "Being able to speak your mind, in addition to being smart, having good analytical and communication skills, and diplomacy. The CRO has to be independent enough and have the courage to speak up and say, 'We've got a problem.' "

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