President (corporate title)

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CEO, executive officer, vice president, managing director, representative director, COO, general manager, chairman, vice-chairman

A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. [1] [2] The relationship between a president and a chief executive officer varies, depending on the structure of the specific organization. In a similar vein to a chief operating officer, the title of corporate president as a separate position (as opposed to being combined with a "C-suite" designation, such as "president and chief executive officer" or "president and chief operating officer") is also loosely defined; the president is usually the legally recognized highest rank of corporate officer, ranking above the various vice presidents (including senior vice president and executive vice president), but on its own generally considered subordinate, in practice, to the CEO. The powers of a president vary widely across organizations and such powers come from specific authorization in the bylaws like Robert's Rules of Order (e.g. the president can make an "executive decision" only if the bylaws allow for it). [3]



Originally, the term president was used in the same way that foreman or overseer is used now (the term is still used in that sense today). [4] [5] It has now also come to mean "chief officer" in terms of administrative or executive duties.

Powers and authority

President presiding over the AGM of a small volunteer organization. President sitting at the left of table in the background. AGM Annual General Meeting of a typical small (141 member) volunteer organisation.jpg
President presiding over the AGM of a small volunteer organization. President sitting at the left of table in the background.

The powers of the president vary widely across organizations. In some organizations the president has the authority to hire staff and make financial decisions, while in others the president only makes recommendations to a board of directors, and still others the president has no executive powers and is mainly a spokesperson for the organization. The amount of power given to the president depends on the type of organization, its structure, and the rules it has created for itself. [6]

In addition to administrative or executive duties in organizations, a president has the duties of presiding over meetings. [7] Such duties at meetings include:

While presiding, a president remains impartial and does not interrupt speakers if a speaker has the floor and is following the rules of the group. [8] In committees or small boards, the president votes along with the other members. However, in assemblies or larger boards, the president should vote only when it can affect the result. [9] At a meeting, the president only has one vote (i.e. the president cannot vote twice and cannot override the decision of the group unless the organisation has specifically given the president such authority). [10]

Disciplinary procedures

If the president exceeds the given authority, engages in misconduct, or fails to perform the duties, the president may face disciplinary procedures. Such procedures may include censure, suspension, or removal from office. The rules of the particular organization would provide details on who can perform these disciplinary procedures and the extent that they can be done. [11] Usually, whoever appointed or elected the president has the power to discipline this officer.


Some organizations may have a position of president-elect in addition to the position of president. Generally the membership of the organization elects a president-elect and when the term of the president-elect is complete, that person automatically becomes president. [12]

Immediate past president

Some organizations may have a position of immediate past president in addition to the position of president. [13] [14] [15] In those organizations, when the term of the president is complete, that person automatically fills the position of immediate past president. The organization can have such a position only if the bylaws provide it. [16] The duties of such a position would also have to be provided in the bylaws. [16]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Board of directors</span> Type of governing body for an organisation

A board of directors is an executive committee that jointly supervises the activities of an organization, which can be either a for-profit or a nonprofit organization such as a business, nonprofit organization, or a government agency.

<i>Roberts Rules of Order</i> Book on parliamentary procedure by Henry Martyn Robert

Robert's Rules of Order, often simply referred to as Robert's Rules, is a manual of parliamentary procedure by U.S. Army officer Henry Martyn Robert. "The object of Rules of Order is to assist an assembly to accomplish the work for which it was designed [...] Where there is no law [...] there is the least of real liberty". The term "Robert's Rules of Order" is also used more generically to refer to any of the more recent editions, by various editors and authors, based on any of Robert's original editions, and the term is used more generically in the United States to refer to parliamentary procedure.

A vice president, also director in British English, is an officer in government or business who is below the president in rank. It can also refer to executive vice presidents, signifying that the vice president is on the executive branch of the government, university or company. The name comes from the Latin term vice meaning "in place of" and typically serves as pro tempore to the president. In some countries, the vice president is called the deputy president. In everyday speech, the abbreviation VP is used.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Committee</span> Body of one or more persons that is subordinate to a deliberative assembly

A committee or commission is a body of one or more persons subordinate to a deliberative assembly. A committee is not itself considered to be a form of assembly. Usually, the assembly sends matters into a committee as a way to explore them more fully than would be possible if the assembly itself were considering them. Committees may have different functions and their types of work differ depending on the type of the organization and its needs.

President of the Senate is a title often given to the presiding officer of a senate. It corresponds to the speaker in some other assemblies.

An officer-elect is a person who has been elected to a position but has not yet been installed. Notably, a president who has been elected but not yet installed would be referred to as a president-elect.

A by-law, or as it is most commonly known in the United States bylaws, is a set of rules or law established by an organization or community so as to regulate itself, as allowed or provided for by some higher authority. The higher authority, generally a legislature or some other government body, establishes the degree of control that the by-laws may exercise. By-laws may be established by entities such as a business corporation, a neighbourhood association, or depending on the jurisdiction, a municipality.

A censure is an expression of strong disapproval or harsh criticism. In parliamentary procedure, it is a debatable main motion that could be adopted by a majority vote. Among the forms that it can take are a stern rebuke by a legislature, a spiritual penalty imposed by a church, or a negative judgment pronounced on a theological proposition. It is usually non-binding, unlike a motion of no confidence.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">World Conference (Community of Christ)</span>

World Conference is the highest legislative body in Community of Christ and is empowered to act for the entire church. It operates according to a principle known as "common consent" and is presided over by the First Presidency. The functioning of the councils, quorums and orders of the church are also considered an important part of the World Conference.

A casting vote is a vote that someone may exercise to resolve a tied vote in a deliberative body. A casting vote is typically by the presiding officer of a council, legislative body, committee, etc., and may only be exercised to break a deadlock.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chairperson</span> Leading or presiding officer of an organized group

The chairperson, also chairman, chairwoman or chair, is the presiding officer of an organized group such as a board, committee, or deliberative assembly. The person holding the office, who is typically elected or appointed by members of the group or organisation, presides over meetings of the group, and conducts the group's business in an orderly fashion.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">President of the Senate of the Philippines</span> Highest ranking-official of the Senate of the Philippines

The president of the Senate of the Philippines is the presiding officer and the highest-ranking official of the Senate of the Philippines, and third highest and most powerful official in the government of the Philippines. They are elected by the entire body to be their leader. The Senate president is second in the line of succession to the presidency, behind only the vice president and ahead of the speaker of the House of Representatives.

An ex officio member is a member of a body who is part of it by virtue of holding another office. The term ex officio is Latin, meaning literally 'from the office', and the sense intended is 'by right of office'; its use dates back to the Roman Republic.

Deliberative assemblies – bodies that use parliamentary procedure to arrive at decisions – use several methods of voting on motions. The regular methods of voting in such bodies are a voice vote, a rising vote, and a show of hands. Additional forms of voting include a recorded vote and balloting.

In parliamentary procedure, a motion to appeal from the decision of the chair is used to challenge a ruling of the chair.

In parliamentary procedure, a motion to raise a question of privilege is a privileged motion that permits a request related to the rights and privileges of the assembly or any of its members to be brought up.

Debate in parliamentary procedure refers to discussion on the merits of a pending question; that is, whether it should or should not be agreed to. It is also commonly referred to as "discussion".

In a deliberative assembly, disciplinary procedures are used to punish members for violating the rules of the assembly.

In disciplinary procedures, the motion to declare the chair vacant is used as a remedy to misconduct or dereliction of duty by the chairperson of a deliberative assembly, when the rules allow it. It is usually combined with a motion to elect a new chair.

In parliamentary procedure, requests and inquiries are motions used by members of a deliberative assembly to obtain information or to do or have something done that requires permission of the assembly. Except for a request to be excused from a duty, these requests and inquiries are not debatable nor amendable.


  1. "Example of Presidential Jobs".
  2. "Example of President and Leaders".
  3. Robert, Henry M.; et al. (2011). Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo Press. p. 456. ISBN   978-0-306-82020-5.
  4. Guy Raz (December 14, 2013). "'President' Once Meant Little More Than 'Foreman'". Retrieved December 12, 2012.
  5. "President". Retrieved 2015-12-19. a person who presides.
  6. Robert 2011 , p. 456
  7. Robert 2011 , p. 449
  8. Robert 2011 , p. 44: "The presiding officer must never interrupt a speaker simply because he knows more about the matter than the speaker does."
  9. "Frequently Asked Questions about RONR (Question 1)". The Official Robert's Rules of Order Web Site. The Robert's Rules Association. Retrieved 2015-12-19.
  10. Robert 2011 , p. 406
  11. "Frequently Asked Questions about RONR (Question 20)". The Official Robert's Rules of Order Web Site. The Robert's Rules Association. Retrieved 2015-12-24.
  12. Robert 2011 , p. 457
  13. "What is the Immediate Past President? - Association of Information Technology Professionals". Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  14. "President-Elect/President/Immediate Past President". American Speech–Language–Hearing Association. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  15. "President-elect, President or Immediate Past President Position Description". Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  16. 1 2 Robert 2011 , p. 572

Further reading