Loading the player...

What is a 'Chief Executive Officer - CEO'

A chief executive officer (CEO) is the highest-ranking executive in a company, and his main responsibilities include the development and implementation of high-level strategies, making major corporate decisions, managing the overall operations and resources of a company, and acting as the main point of communication between the board of directors and the corporate operations. A CEO often has a position on the board; in some cases, he is even the chair.

BREAKING DOWN 'Chief Executive Officer - CEO'

There are various other titles for CEOs including managing director, president and executive. The role of a CEO varies from one company to another depending on the company's size and organization. In relatively small companies, the CEO often has a much more hands-on role in the company, making a lot of the business decisions, including lower-level ones, such as the hiring of staff. However, in larger companies, the CEO typically deals with only the higher-level company strategy and directing its overall growth, as most other tasks are delegated to other managers or various departments.

Difference Between CEO and Chairman of the Board

While the CEO directs the operational aspects of a company, the board oversees the company as a whole, and the leader of the board is called the chairman. The board has the power to overrule the CEO's decisions, but the chairman of the board does not have the power to overrule the board. Instead, the chairman is considered a peer with the other members of the board. In some cases, the CEO and the chairman of the board can be the same person, but many companies split these roles between two people.

Difference Between CEO and CFO

"CFO" refers to the chief financial officer of a company. While CEOs take care of general operations, CFOs focus their attention on financial matters in particular. A CFO analyzes a company's financial strengths and makes recommendations to improve it. The CFO also tracks cash flow and takes care of a company's financial planning, such as investments and capital structures. CFOs typically have a lot of financial management experience or degrees in accounting or finance. Similarly, CEOs often have degrees in business, but in some cases, they are untrained. For example, Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple, was famous for having dropped out of college.

Famous CEOs

The CEOs of large corporations sometimes rise to levels of fame. In particular, Mark Zuckerberg has become famous as the CEO of Facebook, and Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, also appears in the media on a regular basis. Steve Jobs, founder and CEO of Apple, became so notorious for his role in the company that after his death in 2011, several films and documentaries were made about him.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Board Of Directors - B Of D

    A group of individuals that are elected as, or elected to act ...
  2. Interim CEO

    A person appointed by a company's board of directors to assume ...
  3. Chair Of The Board - COB

    The most powerful member on the board of directors who provides ...
  4. Classified Board

    A structure for a board of directors in which a portion of the ...
  5. Corporate Governance

    The system of rules, practices and processes by which a company ...
  6. Business Judgment Rule

    A regulation that helps to make sure a corporation's board of ...
Related Articles
  1. Managing Wealth

    What CEOs Actually Do

    CEOs are responsible for the overall operation of a business, and are usually elected by shareholders and the board of directors.
  2. Managing Wealth

    3 Reasons To Separate CEO And Chairman Positions

    Separating these high-profile positions can help to strengthen the overall integrity of a company.
  3. Managing Wealth

    Retired Execs: How Much Do Corporate Boards Pay?

    If you have the right skill set, getting a seat on a company board can be a lucrative and stimulating way to spend some of your new free time.
  4. Investing

    Evaluating The Board Of Directors

    Corporate structure can tell you a lot about a company's potential. Learn more here.
  5. Investing

    CEO Savvy And Stock's Success Go Hand In Hand

    A CEO shapes the direction a business will take. We provide four clues to help you determine which ones have the right stuff.
  6. Financial Advisor

    Fund Boards: What They Do and Why You Should Care

    Fund boards oversee management and operations of the fund on behalf of shareholders. Make sure you've got a board that will look out for you.
  7. Personal Finance

    Top-earning CEOs Often Run the Worst Performers

    After examining more than 800 CEOs at 429 large and mid-sized U.S. companies, MSCI determined that the best-paid CEOs often have the worst stock performance
  8. Investing

    The Best CEOs Listen To The Street

    Studies show that transparency and listening to the market are a winning combination for CEOs and the companies they run.
  9. Investing

    What are the fiduciary responsibilities of board members?

    Find out what fiduciary duties a board of directors owes to the company and its shareholders, including the duties of care, good faith and loyalty.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is the difference between a president and a chief executive officer? Can there ...

    In general, the chief executive officer (CEO) is thought of as the highest ranking officer in a company while the president ... Read Answer >>
  2. What are the main communication points between a CFO and a CEO?

    Explore key communication points between CEOs and CFOs. Learn how each of these officers has a fiduciary duty to stockholders, ... Read Answer >>
  3. How to Get from CIO or CFO to CEO

    Discover the career path from CIO or CFO to CEO and how traditional organizational leadership roles evolve as businesses ... Read Answer >>
  4. How do the C-suite members work together to make a successful company?

    Learn more about the C-suite titles and how the executive team successfully runs a large or small organization. Find out ... Read Answer >>
  5. What are the different ways a CEO could influence stock prices?

    A CEO's influence on a stock price reflects the company's growth strategy and outlook, its financing needs and decisions ... Read Answer >>
  6. How are C-suite officers measured on performance?

    Find out how C-suite officers are evaluated. Learn about the evaluation process, what makes traits a CEO should exhibit and ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Graduate Management Admission Test - GMAT

    A standardized test intended to measure a test taker's aptitude in mathematics and the English language. The GMAT is most ...
  2. Magna Cum Laude

    An academic level of distinction used by educational institutions to signify an academic degree which was received "with ...
  3. Cover Letter

    A written document submitted with a job application explaining the applicant's credentials and interest in the open position. ...
  4. 403(b) Plan

    A retirement plan for certain employees of public schools, tax-exempt organizations and certain ministers. Generally, retirement ...
  5. Master Of Business Administration - MBA

    A graduate degree achieved at a university or college that provides theoretical and practical training to help graduates ...
  6. Liquidity Event

    An event that allows initial investors in a company to cash out some or all of their ownership shares and is considered an ...
Trading Center