When the chief of one of the biggest and most traditional organisations in the world starts preaching his ‘brand’ gospel to followers on Twitter, you know the concept of the digital CEO has come of age. The ‘chief executive’ (so to speak) of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, has made the need for greater transparency in how the church operates and communicates with its followers one of the cornerstones of his leadership.

Not so coincidentally, one of the ways the Pope has chosen to communicate this ‘rebranding’ has been to dive in among his followers in the realm of social media.

Jump on Twitter and you will see @Pontifex communicating in a very direct and engaging manner. This has marked a fundamental shift in how the leader of the church is viewed and how this historical role is being reconfigured and renewed in the digital age. The Pope is no longer a distant, semi-mythic figure; he is now a leader in the here and now, in touch with his followers and part of the conversation.

This papal example presents some important lessons to the modern CEO on why it is important to embrace digital technology and how our notions of power and leadership are being transformed by the increased access to information, resources, and tools, as a result of the internet and digital technology. The new CEO is transparent, connected, and social.

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