What does a Chief Executive Officer do?

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  • Written By: C. Martin
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 19 January 2020
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A chief executive officer (CEO) manages the organization that he or she administers, usually at a high or corporate level. As such, the day-to-day duties and activities of these managers are widely varied. Their responsibilities usually include creating and directing the vision and strategy for an organization, and making decisions that affect the entire company.

Someone who works as a chief executive officer will often take on the roles of leader, coach, and operational manager. Each of these areas may have a variety of wide-ranging responsibilities, depending on the industry, size, and other attributes of the company or corporation. For example, as leader, the CEO might work on creating a mission statement and an operating vision for the company. He or she may then work with other executives, managers, or teams to develop a strategy and plan. The CEO may subsequently work, in the role of operational manager, to put in place a process to execute the plan.

Other activities in this role may include deciding on the priorities of projects and making high level decisions about operational, staffing, and resource allocation. Another important duty that he or she may perform is facilitating the problem solving process. The CEO may do this by directing the most appropriate staff and resources to work on solving major problems and issues encountered.


In the role of coach, the CEO may need to perform staffing duties. These could include communicating the corporation’s vision and strategy to the staff, delegating responsibilities to teams or individuals, and holding people accountable for the responsibilities they are instructed to fulfill. A CEO may act as a mentor to staff within his or her company, advising them on career goals and effecting necessary job assignments where appropriate.

Chief executive officers may perform very different duties depending on the industry they work in and the size of the organization. For example, the duties of a hospital CEO might include tasks that could require extremely specialized knowledge of medical procedures or medical law. He or she may need to make important financial decisions regarding where to allocate funding, which could have life and death implications for different groups of patients.

In addition, CEOs are, in many cases, the representatives of the organization. In this role, they may need to interact with external bodies, such as the media or government departments. The responsibilities of the CEO are usually large ones, and the person's salary generally reflects this level of responsibility.


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Post 8

@JimmyT - That is true, but in a lot of cases the board of directors lets the CEO go along with their vision and if they are not performing well they will replace them.

Although there are companies that choose to treat their CEO's in such a way that they do not have much freedom with their decisions, they have a CEO for a reason and they are the person that needs to have all the answers for the company and be able to lead them to success, otherwise there would be no need to have a person in such a position in the first place.

What I am wondering is if there are companies that do not have CEO's and they simply use a board of directors to make all the decisions? If anyone knows of any could they provide some examples?

Post 7

@Emilski - I imagine that there is a lot of pressure surrounding that type of job and it probably requires a person to have an alpha male type personality and high confidence in order to perform their job effectively.

That being said I really think that the job of a CEO has to be exceedingly difficult and probably based more of personality as opposed to maybe who is most qualified for the position.

I know this sounds weird, but if someone is at the mercy of a board of directors, their decisions are going to reflect the decisions of the board and not necessarily the CEO's.

Post 6

@stl156 - One example of a CEO being the head of the board of directors is in World Wrestling Entertainment, in which the CEO is Vince McMahon and he is also the majority shareholder, thus making him the head of the board of directors.

The reason he got into this position is because his father was the head of the company and once he inherited the company he sought rapid, nationwide expansion and this allowed him to be the most powerful person in the company, as well as take advantage of the company's success, because he was there from the beginning.

There are many other companies like this, but for the most part the CEO is always under the mercy of the board of directors and there is almost no guarantee of job security.

Post 5

In most cases, the CEO is responsible for how the company does, regardless of if it their fault or not if things go bad, and they can be replaced by the board of directors at any time.

However, there are many instances in which the CEO is also the head of the board of directors and cannot be replaced, like say he or she is the majority share holder of the company. In this case what the CEO says goes and everyone else are more or less simply people that can give advice, but do not hold much real power in the company unless the CEO delegates part of it to them.

Post 4

Cafe41-I agree that this was a great decision by Michael Eisner.

Also, Chief Executive officer Steve Jobs of Apple really demonstrated that adhering to high quality products that are very innovative would yield a healthy bottom line.

Now whenever Apple has a product launch people wait in line for days to be the first to buy the new product. The Iphone and IPad have been hugely successful and all had very high price tags of $500 or more.

People are willing to pay high prices for Apple products because of their incredible quality and innovative nature of these products.

Any Chief executive officer resume has to have accomplishments or at least the development of a break through product or a highly profitable business venture that has raised the profitability of the company along with its stock price.

This is really the only way that you can seek Chief Executive Officer employment.

Post 3

A Chief executive officer Job involves strategic vision. A Chief executive officer of a company has to have a large picture in mind of how they are going to move the company forward.

For example, former executive officer of Disney, Michael Eisner expanded the Disney vision by incorporating the use of the Disney Cruise Lines along with the Disney Resort Hotels.

Expanding the Disney Brand in this fashion allowed the company to be highly profitable and expand their customer base even further.

The Disney experience was not limited to the theme parks but could now be experienced in the Disney resort hotels as well as this own Disney Cruise line.

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