Chief executive officer

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A chief executive officer (CEO, American English), managing director (MD, British English),[1] or chief executive is the highest-ranking corporate officer (executive) or administrator in charge of total management of an organization. An individual appointed as CEO of a corporation, company, organization, or agency reports to the board of directors.

Many CEOs have the title "president and CEO". This is a popular combination especially if someone else is a non-executive chairman of the board. In addition, it can mean the opposite (especially in the United States), in other words that the title holders are also inside directors on the board of directors if not the chairperson (often called "president"), or it can mean that they are also the chief operating officer. Compared to the CEO, the president is often considered to be more focused upon daily operations, who is supposed to be the visionary, so the title "president and CEO" is often used to emphasise that the title holder performs both these roles.

  • Mid-sized companies borrow from corporate and entrepreneurial CEO responsibilities. There will not be all c-level positions available so the CEO must compensate for gaps either through delegating or assuming additional responsibility.

In many states, when an organization incorporates it is necessary to specify individuals in the role of president, treasurer, and secretary with the proviso that the person nominated as president cannot also hold the position of treasurer.[citation needed] But often a person can be specified as secretary/treasurer.

In many non-profits, there is a gross confusion between the chair of the board (sometimes referred to as the president of the board), the secretary of the board (also confused with the secretary of the corporation), and then a board often creates the position of treasurer.[citation needed]

Boards should not have presidents or treasurers, but boards and corporations both need secretaries.[citation needed]


International use

In some European Union countries, there are two separate boards, one executive board for the day-to-day business and one supervisory board for control purposes (elected by the shareholders). In these countries, the CEO presides over the executive board and the chairman presides over the supervisory board, and these two roles will always be held by different people. This ensures a distinction between management by the executive board and governance by the supervisory board. This allows for clear lines of authority. The aim is to prevent a conflict of interest and too much power being concentrated in the hands of one person. There is a strong parallel here with the structure of government, which tends to separate the political cabinet from the management civil service.

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