2015 Global Corporate Development Study

Corporate development today: driving strategy, accelerating growth

Has your corporate development function kept up with change?

Are you set for new challenges?

What are the new ways to enable and measure success?

EY 2015 Global Corporate Development Study
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Our new corporate development study finds significant changes in the role and responsibility of the corporate development function (CDF) and the corporate development officer (CDO).

After years of uncertainty and contraction in the deal market and the global economy, companies are once again actively seeking to grow through mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Seizing opportunities while still focusing on optimizing capital and portfolios is high on the corporate agenda.

“The CDO role used to be more opportunistic in nature, whereas now it has changed to being more a part of the strategic goals of the business. The role has become more of a driver in the M&A process, not just a coordinating role but also taking
a significant part in the process.”

Executive who responded to our survey

These strategic growth objectives are translating into a wider remit for corporate development officers (CDOs) due to rapid market changes, the blurring of sector lines and disruptive forces — such as enhanced geopolitical concerns and shareholder activism.

CDOs are becoming more influential in corporate strategy, taking on new responsibilities and increasingly becoming better positioned to influence corporate success. Among our survey respondents, 44% report that the biggest change in the role of the CDO over the past five years is the greater alignment with the wider corporate strategic focus.

Alignment with strategy is a success factor that executives cite repeatedly. With more than half of our respondents focused on growth, it is crucial for corporate development functions (CDFs) to deliver growth strategies.

Driving strategy, accelerating growth. Four simple words — but they signal very different and very complex challenges and demands for the CDO. Our survey clearly shows that developing a leading role in corporate strategy and strategic planning have become critical priorities for corporate development.

What is the biggest change in the role of the CDO over the past five years?

EY - Graphic showing the biggest change in the role of the CDO