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It depends on the companies. For some, CTO is merely a business title and an outward facing person, but the (S)VP of Engineering / Director of Engineering is more politically powerful since he/she leads the engineering division, and does not report to CTO at all.

Many of the Fortune 500 companies have both CIO and CTO, and they are not necessarily peer to each other. In the recent years a bunch of new titles like big data chief, digital media /innovation chief, process and technology chief, etc which make the political scheme more confusing and toxic. Many of them end up reporting to CEO directly. There's also EVP rank, so go figure...

Again, it depends.

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