Many firms have elevated their supply chain management decision-making responsibilities through the creation of ‘Chief Supply Chain Officer’ (CSCO) positions. This is widely attributed to the recognition that superior supply chain operations can generate a competitive advantage. Prior studies have found that firms with CSCOs outperform firms without CSCOs along many financial dimensions. However, these prior efforts did not examine the pathways by which these improvements occur. This study addresses this gap in the literature by investigating whether supply chain characteristics of manufacturing firms differ within firms with CSCOs. To explore this, we investigate the relationship between CSCOs and operational dimensions of supply chain performance using data from the 10-year period between 2008 and 2017. We find that the presence of a CSCO in a firm is associated with shorter cash conversion cycles, lower levels of operational slack, and larger buffers of inventory during periods of high market instability.