Corporate title

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Publicly and privately held for-profit corporations confer corporate titles or business titles on company officials as a means of identifying their function in the organization. In addition, many non-profit organizations, educational institutions, partnerships, and sole proprietorships also confer corporate titles.

The highest level executives are usually called "C-level" or part of the "C-suite", referring to the 3-letter initials starting with "C" and ending with "O" (for "Chief __________ Officer"); the major traditional such offices are Chief Executive Officer (CEO), and Chief Operations Officer (COO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO). In technology companies, a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) is also central, and for companies with a strong IT capacity a Chief Information Officer (CIO) is also significant. (Most other C-level titles are not universally recognized, and tend to be specific to particular organizational cultures or preferences.)



Note that there are considerable variations in the responsibilities of the titles. Some companies have a Chairman and CEO, while the number two is the President and COO; other companies have a President and CEO but no official deputy. Typically C-level titles are "higher" than Vice Presidents, but sometimes they are the same person. The board of directors is technically not part of management itself, although its Chairman may also be in senior management.

Corporate titles

  • Executive or Non-Executive Chairperson, Chairman or Chairman of the Board[1] – presiding officer of the corporate Board of directors. The Chairman influences the board of directors, which in turn elects and removes the officers of a corporation and oversees the human, financial, environmental and technical operations of a corporation. The CEO may be combined with that of chairman to form the position of executive chairman. Recently,[when?] though, many companies have separated the roles of Chairman and CEO, resulting in a non-executive chairman, in order to improve corporate governance.
  • Chief accounting officer
  • Chief administrative officer
  • Chief Analytics Officer or CAO – high level corporate manager with overall responsibility for the analysis and interpretation of data relevant to a company's activities; generally reports to the CEO, or COO.
  • Chief Audit Executive or CAE; high level 'independent' corporate executive with overall responsibility for the Internal audit.
  • Chief Blogger A chief blogger is a person who represents a brand through blogs and social media.
  • Chief Business Officer
  • Chief Business Development Officer or CBDO.
  • Chief Brand Officer or CBO – a relatively new executive level position at a corporation, company, organization, or agency, typically reporting directly to the CEO or board of directors. The CBO is responsible for a brand's image, experience, and promise, and propagating it throughout all aspects of the company. The brand officer oversees marketing, advertising, design, public relations and customer service departments. The brand equity of a company is seen as becoming increasingly dependent on the role of a CBO.
  • Chief commercial officer or CCO - the executive responsible for commercial strategy and development
  • Chief Communications Officer or CCO.
  • Chief Compliance Officer - in charge of regulatory compliance, especially Sarbanes-Oxley.
  • Chief Creative Officer
  • Chief Credit Officer or CCO.
  • Chief Customer Officer - responsible in customer-centric companies for the total relationship with an organization’s customers.
  • Chief Data Officer or CDO
  • Chief Electrification Officer - responsible for electrical generating and distribution systems. The title was used mainly in developed countries from the 1880s to 1940s during the electrification of industry, but is still used in some developing countries.
  • Chief Engineering Officer - similar to the more common CTO; responsible for technology/product R & D and/or manufacturing issues in a technology company. This position is generally separate from any internal IT functions (the realm of the CIO). This title occurs more in those technology companies that make products other than software, but increasingly CTO is used instead now in both software and non-software industries alike to refer to overseeing the development of technology being commercialized.
  • Chief Executive Officer or CEO (United States), Chief Executive or Managing director (United Kingdom, Commonwealth and some other English speaking countries) – The CEO of a corporation is the highest ranking management officer of a corporation and has final decisions over human, financial, environmental, technical operations of the corporation. The CEO is also a visionary, often leaving day-to-day operations to the President, COO or division heads. Other corporate officers such as the COO, CFO, CIO, and division heads report to the CEO. The CEO is also often the Chairman of the Board, especially in closely held corporations and also often in public corporations. Recently, though, many public companies have separated the roles of Chairman and CEO (This is long-standing normal practice under the British System), resulting in a non-executive chairman, in order to improve corporate governance. President and CEO is a popular combination if there is a non-executive chairman.
  • Chief Financial Officer or CFO – high level corporate officer with oversight of corporate finances; reports to the CEO. May concurrently hold the title of Treasurer or oversee such a position; it must be noted that Finance deals with accounting and audits, while Treasurer deals with company funds.
  • Chief Human Resources Officer or CHRO
  • Chief Information Officer or CIO – high level corporate manager with overall responsibility for the company's information resources and processing environment; generally reports to the CEO or COO. Particularly important in IT companies or companies that rely heavily on an IT infrastructure for their operations.
  • Chief Information Security Officer or CISO.
  • Chief Innovation Officer
  • Chief Intellectual Property Officer or CIPO - responsible for the management of the IP assets and potential IP-related liabilities of the enterprise.
  • Chief Investment Officer or CIO – high level corporate officer responsible for the assets of an investment vehicle or investment management company and/or responsible for the asset-liability management (ALM) of typical large financial institutions such as insurers, banks and/or pension funds; generally reports to the CEO or CFO.
  • Chief Knowledge Officer or CKO – high level corporate officer responsible for ensuring that the organization maximizes the value it achieves through "knowledge".
  • Chief Legal Officer or CLO, the CLO is traditionally referred to as the General Counsel, or GC;
  • Chief Learning Officer or CLO, the CLO is commonly responsible for all Learning/Training Operations.
  • Chief Listening Officer The chief listener essentially listens to customers through tools such as social media.
  • Chief Marketing Officer or CMO.
  • Chief Medical Officer or CMO; especially in a pharmaceutical company, the person responsible for scientific and medical excellence of the company's research, development and products.
  • Chief Networking Officer or CNO – responsible for the social capital within the company and between the company and its partners
  • Chief Operating Officer or COO – high level corporate officer with responsibility for the daily operation of the company; reports to the CEO. The COO often also carries the title of President, especially if the number one is the Chairman and CEO.
  • Chief Performance Officer
  • Chief Privacy Officer
  • Chief Process Officer or CPO.
  • Chief Procurement Officer or CPO.
  • Chief Product Officer or CPO.
  • Chief Promotions Officer or CPO.
  • Chief Revenue Officer or CRO; Responsible for all revenue within the organization.
  • Chief Risk Officer (Chief Risk Management Officer) or CRO. Common in financial institutions.
  • Chief Sales Officer or CSO; responsible for all sales/revenue within the organization.
  • Chief Science Officer responsible for research, development and new technologies.
  • Chief Search Officer responsible for research, development and planning of brand search marketing.
  • Chief Security Officer or CSO.
  • Chief Specialist Officer or CSO. VP level corporate officer responsible for a specific function or area at corporate level.
  • Chief Strategy Officer (Chief Strategic Planning Officer) or CSO (CSPO).
  • Chief Supply Chain Officer or CSCO; high level corporate officer responsible for the supply chain management of the company.
  • Chief Tax Officer or CTO – high level corporate officer responsible for the tax function (compliance, accounting and planning) within a company. The CTO may report to the CEO, CFO, general counsel or the internal audit function.
  • Chief Technical Officer or CTO – (sometimes Chief Technology Officer) high level corporate officer responsible for the company's technology/R&D direction. Now common in both IT/software and other technological fields as well, the focus on this position is typically overseeing the development of technology to be commercialized. (For an IT company, the subject matter would be similar to the CIO's, however the CTO's focus is technology for the firm to sell vs. technology used for facilitating the firm's own operations.)
  • Chief visionary officer
  • Chief Web Officer
  • Chief International officer or CIO Responsible for development and implementation of overseas markets
  • Chief eXperience Officer or CXO is the person who is responsible of quality of Customer Service experience in any organization
  • Financial Control Officer, FCO or FC, also Comptroller or Controller: supervises accounting and financial reporting within an organization.
  • Director or Member of the Board of Directors - a high level official with a fiduciary responsibility of overseeing the operation of a corporation and elects or removes officers of a corporation; nominally, Directors, other than the Chairman are usually not considered to be employees of the company per se, although they may receive compensation, often including benefits; in publicly held companies. A Board of Directors is normally made up of members (Directors) who are a mixture of corporate officials who are also management employees of the company (inside directors) and persons who are not employed by the company in any capacity (outside directors or non-executive directors). In privately held companies, the Board of Directors often only consists of the statutory corporate officials, and in sole proprietorship and partnerships, the board is entirely optional, and if it does exist, only operates in an advisory capacity to the owner or partners. Non-profit corporations are governed by a Board of Trustees instead of a Board of Directors
  • Director - manager of managers within an organization who is often responsible for a major business function and often reports to a Vice President. Often used with name of a functional area; Finance Director, Director of Finance, Marketing Director, etc. Not to be confused with a Member of the Board of Directors who is also referred to as a Director. Alternatively, a manager of managers is often referred to as a senior manager or associate vice president, depending upon levels of management.
  • Fellow - In a dual career ladder organization a fellow is often a very senior technical position and is equal to a director or VP.
  • President - legally recognized highest "titled" corporate officer outside of the CEO (who ranks highest). The President works directly for the Board of Directors and usually a member of the Board of Directors. The office of President can be limited by the Chairman/CEO to represent only one division within a corporation, such as the President of Sales. In the event there is no CEO, the President is the highest ranking officer but is not normally the Chairperson. There is much variation; often the CEO also holds the title of President, while a Chairman and CEO's deputy is often the President and COO. The President is often considered to be more focused upon daily operations compared to the CEO which is supposed to be the visionary.
  • Secretary or Company secretary - legally recognized "titled" corporate officer who reports to the Board of Directors and is responsible for keeping the records of the Board and the company. This title is often concurrently held by the treasurer in a dual position called secretary-treasurer; both positions may be concurrently held by the CFO. Note, however, that the Secretary has a reporting line to the Board of Directors, regardless of any other reporting lines conferred by concurrent titles.
  • Secretary-Treasurer - in many cases, the offices of Secretary and Treasurer are held by the same person. In this case, the position is commonly referred to by the combined title Secretary-Treasurer
  • Treasurer - legally recognized corporate officer entrusted with the fiduciary responsibility of caring for company funds. Often this title is held concurrently with that of Secretary in a dual role called secretary-treasurer. It can also be held concurrently with the title of CFO or fall under the jurisdiction of one, though the CFO tends to oversee the Finance Department instead, which deals with accounting and audits, while the Treasurer deals directly with company funds. Note, however, that the Treasurer has a reporting line to the Board of Directors, regardless of any other reporting lines conferred by concurrent titles.
  • Statutory agent
  • Superintendent
  • Associate Used in many different ways in US business. Often used to indicate a customer service position or temporary/part time worker. Some US businesses use the term for all or most Exempt-employees. In legal firms the title is used to indicated a lawyer who is not a partner of the law firm. Partner is often used in a similar way.
  • Supervisor
  • Foreman
  • General manager or GM
  • Manager
  • Of Counsel A lawyer working on a part time or temporary basis for a company or law firm.
  • Owner (sometimes Proprietor or Sole Proprietor, for sole proprietorships)
  • Partner Used in many different ways. This may indicate a co-owner as in a legal partnership or may be used in a general way to refer to a broad class of employees or temporary/contract workers who are often assigned field or customer service work. Associate is often used in a similar way.
  • Principal - may refer to an Owner of the business or as a high level technical worker such as Principal Engineer or Principal Scientist. The Principal title is often used in dual career ladder[2] organizations and may be equivalent to manager or director.[3]
  • Vice Chair or Vice Chairman - officer of the Board of Directors who stands in for the Chairman in his/her absence. An unrelated definition of Vice Chair describes an executive who is higher ranking or has more seniority than Executive Vice President. Sometimes, EVPs report to the Vice Chair who in turn reports directly to the CEO (so Vice Chairs in effect constitute an additional layer of management), other Vice Chairs have more responsibilities but are otherwise on an equal tier with EVPs. Executive vice chairman may not necessarily be on the board of directors.
  • Vice President - Middle or upper manager in a corporation. Depending on the corporate structure Vice Presidents report to the President, who will in turn report to the Chief Officer of their respective division, who will then report to the CEO. They often appear in various hierarchical layers such as Executive Vice President, Senior Vice President, Associate Vice President, or Assistant Vice President, with EVP usually considered the highest. Many times, corporate officers such as the CFO, COO, CIO, CTO, Secretary, or Treasurer will concurrently hold Vice President titles, commonly EVP or SVP. Vice Presidents in small companies are also referred to as chiefs of a certain division, such as VP of Finance, or VP of Administration.
  • Director

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