The responsibilities of a chief executive largely depends on an organization’s size. For example, an owner or manager of a small organization, such as an independent retail store, often is responsible for purchasing, hiring, training, quality control, and day-to-day supervisory duties. In large organizations, on the other hand, top executives typically focus more on formulating policies and strategic planning, while general and operations managers direct day-to-day operations. Chief executives typically do the following:
The following are examples of common types of chief executives:
Chief executive officers (CEOs), who are also known by titles such as executive director, president, and vice president, provide overall direction for companies and organizations. CEOs manage company operations, formulate policies, and ensure goals are met. They collaborate with and direct the work of other top executives and typically report to a board of directors.
Chief financial officers (CFOs) are accountable for the accuracy of a company’s or organization’s financial reporting, especially among publicly traded companies. They direct the organization’s financial goals, objectives, and budgets. For example, they may oversee the investment of funds and manage associated risks.
Chief information officers (CIOs) are responsible for the overall technological direction of an organization, which includes managing the information technology and computer systems. They organize and supervise information-technology-related workers, projects, and policies.
Chief operating officers (COOs) oversee other executives who direct the activities of various departments, such as human resources and sales. They also carry out the organization’s guidelines on a day-to-day basis.
Chief sustainability officers address sustainability issues by enacting or overseeing a corporate sustainability strategy. For instance, they may manage programs and policies relating to environmental issues and ensure that the organization complies with environmental or other government regulations.
Mayors, along with governors, city managers, and county administrators, are the chief executives of governments. They typically oversee budgets, programs, and uses of resources. Mayors and governors must be elected to office, and managers and administrators typically are appointed.
School superintendents and college or university presidents are the chief executives of school districts and postsecondary schools. In addition to overseeing operations, they also manage issues, such as student achievement, budgets and resources, and relations with government agencies and other stakeholders.