The modern organisation operates within a sophisticated and evolving security threat landscape that exposes its information infrastructure to a range of security risks. Unsurprisingly, despite the existence of industry ‘best-practice’ security standards and unprecedented levels of investment in security technology, the rate of incidents continues to escalate. Furthermore, a review of security literature reveals an apparent lack of strategic perspective in the field of information security management (ISM) which results in a number of strategic challenges for ISM function in organisations. The level of sophistication and dynamism of threat requires organisations to develop novel security strategies that draw on creative and lateral thinking approaches. Such a security campaign requires the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) to function as a ‘strategist’. However, there is little or no evidence in security literature to show that the security leader is required to function as a strategist. In this research, we set out to identify the specific competencies required by CISOs to become effective strategists by performing a systematic literature review of both security and strategic management literature. We thematically analysed and coded the characteristics extracted from strategic management literature into the five dimensions of the strategist. We discuss these macro competencies in the context of ISM, and argue that CISOs with these five dimensions of a strategist will be able to overcome the existing strategic challenges facing ISM in organisations.