Corporate title

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Corporate titles or business titles are given to company and organization officials to show what duties and responsibilities they have in the organization. Such titles are used by publicly and privately held for-profit corporations. In addition, many non-profit organizations, educational institutions, partnerships, and sole proprietorships also confer corporate titles.



There are considerable variations in the composition and responsibilities of corporate titles.

Within the corporate office or corporate center of a company, some companies have a chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) as the top-ranking executive, while the number two is the president and chief operating officer (COO); other companies have a president and CEO but no official deputy. Typically, senior managers are "higher" than vice presidents, although many times a senior officer may also hold a vice president title, such as executive vice president and chief financial officer (CFO). The board of directors is technically not part of management itself, although its chairman may be considered part of the corporate office if he or she is an executive chairman.

A corporation often consists of different businesses, whose senior executives report directly to the CEO or COO, but depends on the form of the business. If organized as a division then the top manager is often known as an executive vice president (EVP). If that business is a subsidiary which has considerably more independence, then the title might be chairman and CEO.

In many countries, particularly in Europe and Asia, there is a separate executive board for day-to-day business and supervisory board (elected by shareholders) for control purposes. 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 seemingly allows for clear lines of authority. There is a strong parallel here with the structure of government, which tends to separate the political cabinet from the management civil service.

In the United States and other countries that follow a single-board corporate structure, the board of directors (elected by the shareholders) is often equivalent to the European or Asian supervisory board, while the functions of the executive board may be vested either in the board of directors or in a separate committee, which may be called an operating committee (J.P. Morgan Chase), [1] management committee (Goldman Sachs), executive committee (Lehman Brothers), or executive council (Hewlett-Packard), or executive board (HeiG) composed of the division/subsidiary heads and senior officers that report directly to the CEO.

United States

State laws in the United States traditionally required certain positions to be created within every corporation, such as president, secretary and treasurer. Today, the approach under the Model Business Corporation Act , which is employed in many states, is to grant companies discretion in determining which titles to have, with the only mandated organ being the board of directors. [2]

Some states that do not employ the MBCA continue to require that certain offices be established. Under the law of Delaware, where most large US corporations are established, stock certificates must be signed by two officers with titles specified by law (e.g. a president and secretary or a president and treasurer). [3] Every corporation incorporated in California must have a chairman of the board or a president (or both), as well as a secretary and a chief financial officer. [4]

Limited liability company (LLC)-structured companies are generally run directly by their members, but the members can agree to appoint officers such as a CEO or to appoint "managers" to operate the company. [5]

American companies are generally led by a CEO. In some companies, the CEO also has the title of "president". In other companies, a president is a different person, and the primary duties of the two positions are defined in the company's bylaws (or the laws of the governing legal jurisdiction). Many companies also have a CFO, a chief operating officer (COO) and other senior positions such as General Counsel (CLO), chief strategy officer (CSO), chief marketing officer (CMO), etc. that report to the president and CEO as "senior vice presidents" of the company. The next level, which are not executive positions, is middle management and may be called "vice presidents", "directors" or "managers", depending on the size and required managerial depth of the company. [6]

United Kingdom

In British English, the title of managing director is generally synonymous with that of chief executive officer. [7] Managing directors do not have any particular authority under the Companies Act in the UK, but do have implied authority based on the general understanding of what their position entails, as well as any authority expressly delegated by the board of directors. [8]

Japan and South Korea

In Japan, corporate titles are roughly standardized across companies and organizations; although there is variation from company to company, corporate titles within a company are always consistent, and the large companies in Japan generally follow the same outline. [9] These titles are the formal titles that are used on business cards. [10] Korean corporate titles are similar to those of Japan.

Legally, Japanese and Korean companies are only required to have a board of directors with at least one representative director. [11] [ citation needed ] In Japanese, a company director is called a torishimariyaku (取締役) and a representative director is called a daihyō torishimariyaku (代表取締役). The equivalent Korean titles are isa (이사, 理事) and daepyo-isa (대표이사, 代表理事). These titles are often combined with lower titles, e.g. senmu torishimariyaku or jōmu torishimariyaku for Japanese executives who are also board members. [12] [13] Most Japanese companies also have statutory auditors, who operate alongside the board of directors in supervisory roles.

The typical structure of executive titles in large companies includes the following: [12] [13] [14]

English glossKanji (hanja)JapaneseKoreanComments
Chairman 会長
Often a semi-retired president or company founder. Denotes a position with considerable power within the company exercised through behind-the-scenes influence via the active president.
Vice chairman 副会長
At Korean family-owned chaebol companies such as Samsung, the vice-chairman commonly holds the CEO title (i.e., vice chairman and CEO)
President 社長ShachōSajang
Often CEO of the corporation. Some companies do not have the "chairman" position, in which case the "president" is the top position that is equally respected and authoritative.
Deputy president
or Senior executive vice president
Reports to the president
Executive vice president
Senior vice president
Vice president
or general manager
or department head
Highest non-executive title; denotes a head of a division or department. There is significant variation in the official English translation used by different companies.
Deputy general manager次長JichōChajang
Direct subordinate to buchō/bujang
or section head
Denotes a head of a team or section underneath a larger division/department
Assistant manager
or team leader
Staff without managerial titles are often referred to without using a title at all

The top management group, comprising jomu/sangmu and above, is often referred to collectively as "senior management" (幹部 or 重役; kambu or juyaku in Japanese; ganbu or jungyŏk in Korean).

Some Japanese and Korean companies have also adopted American-style titles, but these are not yet widespread and their usage varies. For example, although there is a Korean translation for chief operating officer (최고운영책임자, choego unyŏng chaegimja), not many companies have yet adopted it with an exception of a few multi-national companies such as Samsung and CJ (a spin-off from Samsung), while the CFO title is often used alongside other titles such as bu-sajang (SEVP) or Jŏnmu (EVP).

Since the late 1990s, many Japanese companies have introduced the title of shikkō yakuin (執行役員) or "officer", seeking to emulate the separation of directors and officers found in American companies. In 2002, the statutory title of shikkō yaku (執行役) was introduced for use in companies that introduced a three-committee structure in their board of directors. The titles are frequently given to buchō and higher-level personnel. Although the two titles are very similar in intent and usage, there are several legal distinctions: shikkō yaku make their own decisions in the course of performing work delegated to them by the board of directors, and are considered managers of the company rather than employees, with a legal status similar to that of directors. Shikkō yakuin are considered employees of the company that follow the decisions of the board of directors, although in some cases directors may have the shikkō yakuin title as well. [15] [16]

Senior management

The highest-level executives in senior management usually have titles beginning with "chief" and ending with "officer", forming what is often called the "C-suite" or "CxO", where "x" is a variable that could be any functional area (not to be confused with CXO). The traditional three such officers are CEO, COO, and CFO. Depending on the management structure, titles may exist instead of, or be blended/overlapped with, other traditional executive titles, such as president , various designations of vice presidents (e.g. VP of marketing), and general managers or directors of various divisions (such as director of marketing); the latter may or may not imply membership of the board of directors.

Certain other prominent positions have emerged, some of which are sector-specific. For example, chief audit executive (CAE), chief procurement officer (CPO) and chief risk officer (CRO) positions are often found in many types of financial services companies. Technology companies of all sorts now tend to have a chief technology officer (CTO) to manage technology development. A CIO oversees information technology (IT) matters, either in companies that specialize in IT or in any kind of company that relies on it for supporting infrastructure.

Many companies now also have a chief marketing officer (CMO), particularly mature companies in competitive sectors, where brand management is a high priority. A chief value officer (CVO) is introduced in companies where business processes and organizational entities are focused on the creation and maximization of value. Approximately 50% of the S&P 500 companies have created a chief strategy officer (CSO) in their top management team to lead strategic planning and manage inorganic growth, which provides a long range perspective versus the tactical view of the COO or CFO. A chief administrative officer may be found in many large complex organizations that have various departments or divisions. Additionally, many companies now call their top diversity leadership position the chief diversity officer (CDO). However, this and many other nontraditional and lower-ranking titles are not universally recognized as corporate officers, and they tend to be specific to particular organizational cultures or the preferences of employees.

Specific corporate officer positions

Chairman of the board – 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.

List of chief officer (CO) titles

chief academic officer CAOResponsible for academic administration at universities and other higher education institutions
chief accessibility officer CAOResponsible for overseeing accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities and seniors
chief accounting officer CAOResponsible for overseeing all accounting and bookkeeping functions, ensuring that ledger accounts, financial statements, and cost control systems are operating effectively
chief administrative officer CAOResponsible for business administration, including daily operations and overall performance
chief artificial intelligence officerCAIOResponsible for AI research department
chief analytics officer CAOResponsible for data analysis and interpretation
chief architect CAResponsible for designing systems for high availability and scalability, specifically in technology companies. Often called enterprise architects (EA).
chief audit executive CAEResponsible for the internal audit
chief business officer CBOResponsible for the company's deal making, provides leadership and execute a deal strategy that will allow the company to fulfill its scientific/technology mission and build shareholder value, provides managerial guidance to the company's product development staff as needed.
chief business development officer CBDOResponsible for business development plans, design and implementation of processes to support business growth
chief brand officer CBOResponsible for a brand's image, experience, and promise, and propagating it throughout all aspects of the company, overseeing marketing, advertising, design, public relations and customer service departments
chief commercial officer CCOResponsible for commercial strategy and development
chief communications officer CCOResponsible for communications to employees, shareholders, media, bloggers, influencers, the press, the community, and the public. Practical application of communication studies
chief compliance officer CCOResponsible for overseeing and managing regulatory compliance.
chief content officer CCOResponsible for developing and commissioning content for broadcasting channels and multimedia exploitation
chief creative officer CCOIn one sense of the term, responsible for the overall look and feel of marketing, media, and branding. In another sense, similar to chief design officer.
chief customer officer CCOResponsible for customer relationship management
chief development officerCDOResponsible for activities developing the business, usually through added products, added clients, markets or segments
chief data officer CDOResponsible for enterprise-wide governance and utilization of information and data as assets, via data processing, data analysis, data mining, information trading, and other means
chief delivery officerCDOResponsible for leading the project management office for project coordination, and facilitating product deliveries among clients worldwide
chief design officer CDOResponsible for overseeing all design aspects of a company's products and services, including product design, graphic design, user experience design, industrial design, and package design, and possibly aspects of advertising, marketing, and engineering
chief digital officer CDOResponsible for adoption of digital technologies, digital consumer experiences, the process of digital transformation, and devising and executing social strategies
chief diversity officer CDOResponsible for diversity and inclusion, including diversity training and equal employment opportunity
chief engineering officer CEngOSimilar to the more common chief technology officer (CTO); responsible for technology/product R & D and manufacturing issues in a technology company, oversees the development of technology being commercialized
chief executive officer CEOResponsible for the overall vision and direction of an organization, making the final decisions over all of the corporation's operations. The highest-ranking management officer; often also the chairman of the board. Usually called CEO in the United States, chief executive or managing director in the United Kingdom, Commonwealth of Nations, and some other countries.
chief experience officer CXOResponsible for user experience, overseeing user experience design and user interface design. CXO is not to be confused with CxO, a term commonly used when referring to any one of various chief officers.
chief financial officer CFOResponsible for all aspects of finances
chief gaming officer CGOResponsible for both the game development and the online/offline publishing functions of a company that makes video games
chief government relations officerCGROResponsible for all aspects of government relations and lobbying
chief human resources officer CHROResponsible for all aspects of human resource management and industrial relations
chief information officer CIOResponsible for IT, particularly in IT companies or companies that rely heavily on an IT infrastructure
chief information security officer CISOResponsible for information security
chief innovation officer CINOResponsible for innovation
chief investment officer CIOResponsible for investment and for the asset liability management (ALM) of typical large financial institutions such as insurers, banks and/or pension funds
chief information technology officerCITOResponsible for information technology. Often equivalent to chief information officer (CIO) and, in a company that sells IT, chief technology officer (CTO).
chief knowledge officer CKOResponsible for managing intellectual capital and knowledge management
chief legal officer CLOResponsible for overseeing and identifying legal issues in all departments and their interrelation, as well as corporate governance and business policy. Often called general counsel (GC) or chief counsel.
chief learning officer CLOResponsible for learning and training
chief marketing officer CMOResponsible for marketing; job may include sales management, product development, distribution channel management, marketing communications (including advertising and promotions), pricing, market research, and customer service.
chief medical officer CMOResponsible for scientific and medical excellence, especially in pharmaceutical companies, health systems, hospitals, and integrated provider networks. The title is used in many countries for the senior government official who advises on matters of public health importance. In the latter sense compare also chief dental officer.
chief networking officer CNOResponsible for social capital within the company and between the company and its partners
chief nursing officer CNOResponsible for nursing
chief operating officer COOResponsible for supervising office administration and maintenance, business operations, including operations management, operations research, and (when applicable) manufacturing operations; role is highly contingent and situational, changing from company to company and even from a CEO to their successor within the same company. Often called "director of operations" in the nonprofit sector.
chief privacy officer CPOResponsible for all the privacy of the data in an organization, including privacy policy enforcement
chief process officer CPOResponsible for business processes and applied process theory, defining rules, policies, and guidelines to ensure that the main objectives follow the company strategy as well as establishing control mechanisms
chief procurement officer CPOResponsible for procurement, sourcing goods and services and negotiating prices and contracts
chief product officer CPOResponsible for all product-related matters. The CPO is to the business's product what the CTO is to technology. The responsibilities of the CPO are inclusive of product vision, product strategy, user experience, product design, product development, and product marketing.
chief quality officerCQOResponsible for quality and quality assurance, setting up quality goals and ensuring that those goals continue to be met over time
chief research and development officerCRDOResponsible for research and development
chief research officer CROResponsible for research
chief revenue officer CROResponsible for measuring and maximizing revenue
chief risk officer CROResponsible for risk management, ensuring that risk is avoided, controlled, accepted, or transferred and that opportunities are not missed. Sometimes called chief risk management officer (CRMO).
chief system engineerCSEResponsible for the whole system specification, validation, and verification in development processes. Usually using as the manager of other sub-system engineers.
chief sales officerCSOResponsible for sales
chief science officer CSOResponsible for science, usually applied science, including research and development and new technologies Sometimes called chief scientist.
chief security officer CSOResponsible for security, including physical security and network security
chief software officer CSOResponsible for the overall software strategy, roadmap, engineering, and user experience
chief solutions officer CSOResponsible for the development and delivery of reliable and innovative business and technology solutions
chief strategy officer CSOResponsible for all aspects of strategy and strategic planning, including enterprise portfolio management, corporate development, and market intelligence
chief sustainability officer CSOResponsible for environmental/sustainability programs.
chief technical officer CTOResponsible to bridge the technical specific issues related to product or service in the organization. This position is common in NGOs and the development aid sector when the CEO or Project Director is not a person with a strong technical background related to the aid program focus such as economic development, renewable energy, human rights, agriculture, WASH, emergency responses, etc. The CTO provides guidance and advice to the program implementation team related to technical things. In some development aid programs, this position is similar to the Technical Director.
chief technology officer CTOResponsible for technology and research and development, overseeing the development of technology to be commercialized. (For an information technology company, the subject matter would be similar to the CIO's; however, the CTO's focus is technology for the firm to sell versus technology used for facilitating the firm's own operations.). Sometimes called chief technical officer.
chief value officerCVOEnsure that all programs, actions, new products, services and investments create and capture customer value.
chief visionary officer CVOResponsible for defining corporate vision, business strategy, and working plans
chief web officer CWOResponsible for the web presence of the company and usually for the entire online presence, including intranet and Internet (web, mobile apps, other)

Middle management

See also

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