In the era of big data, there are more and more organizations trying to establish a new breed of executive, Chief Data Officer (CDO), to identify new business opportunity from data assets and optimize corporate revenue. However, the relationship between CDO presence and firm’s financial performance has not been rigorously studied and validated in literature. Based on upper echelon theory and strategic change perspectives, we examined the impact of pre-performance on the CDO appointment, as well as the CDO presence on post-performance. We collected a multi-industry dataset of 68 firms with a CDO position. The results show that the return on assets (ROA) is positively related to CDO appointment, while, market to book ratio (M/B) is negatively related to CDO appointment. In addition, we found that firms with CDO have superior financial performance than their peers who do not. This study provides an initial step towards understanding the empirical linkages between CDO presence and firm performance.