The main objective of data stewardship is to manage the corporation's data assets to improve their reusability, accessibility and quality. Data stewards need to have a firm understanding of the business in order to approve business naming standards, develop consistent data definitions, document the company's business rules, develop and approve standard calculations, assure appropriate security on data elements, and to monitor the quality of data. If the designated lead can handle those types of issues then s/he would be an ideal data steward candidate.
Additionally you should consider the reputation of the candidate within the organization. Data stewardship must be managed by someone who has the respect of the business users. This only comes with experience and (usually) tenure within the organization. Only with a thorough understanding of how the business works will a data steward gain the confidence of both the IT and end user communities.
If you are looking for additional information about data stewardship I recommend that you read Bob Seiner's article on Data Steward Roles & Responsibilities.
This was first published in July 2006