Vice president

Last updated

A vice president, also director in British English, is an officer in government or business who is below the president (chief executive officer) 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 (Latin: ’for the time being’) to the president. [1] In some countries, the vice president is called the deputy president. In everyday speech, the abbreviation VP is used.


In government

In government, a vice president is a person whose primary responsibility is to act in place of the president on the event of the president's death, resignation or incapacity. Vice presidents are either elected jointly with the president as their running mate, or more rarely, appointed independently after the president's election.

Most governments with vice presidents have one person in this role at any time, although in some countries there are two or more vice presidents–an extreme case being Iran's 12 vice presidents. If the president is not present, dies, resigns, or is otherwise unable to fulfill their duties, the vice president will generally serve as president. In many presidential systems, vice presidents may not wield much day-to-day political power, but are still considered important members of the cabinet, while other vice presidents might not have any purpose beyond acting in place of the president on the event of the president's death, resignation or incapacity. A few vice presidents in the Americas also hold the position of president of the senate; this is the case, for example, in Argentina, the United States, and Uruguay. The vice president sometimes assumes some of the ceremonial duties of the president, such as attending diplomatic functions and events that the actual president may be too busy to attend; the Vice President of the United States, for example, often attends funerals of world leaders on behalf of the president. In parliamentary or semi-presidential systems, a vice president may coexist with a prime minister, as is the case in India and Namibia, but the presence of both offices concurrently is rare.

In business

In business, "vice president" refers to hierarchical position that ranges from extremely senior positions directly reporting to C-level executives (in non-financial companies), to junior non-management positions with four to 10 years of experience (in financial companies).

In non-financial businesses, vice presidents often report directly to the president or CEO of the company and are members of the executive management team. Some corporations that use this term may have individuals with the title of vice president responsible for specific business divisions (e.g., vice president for legal, vice president for sales and marketing, vice president for finance, and vice president for human resources).

When there are typically several vice presidents in a company, these individuals are sometimes differentiated with titles denoting higher positions such as executive vice president or senior vice president, with the remaining management team holding the title vice president. The title of assistant vice president or associate vice president is used in large organizations below vice president and there can be a very convoluted list of other types of VPs as seen in the next section.

As many of these VPs have minimal employees reporting to them, their necessity has been questioned, with for example Inc. magazine arguing to flatten the corporate hierarchy. [2] Similarly, as universities have adopted a corporate structure [3] there is concern over administrative bloat [4] and over-paying VPs. [5] Benjamin Ginsberg, a political scientist and professor, has claimed the proliferation of VPs and other administrators is destroying universities. [6] "Corporate vice president" is an older term that usually denotes a vice president that is named as a corporate officer by the board of directors. Not all vice presidents in a company in the modern business environment are named as an official corporate officer.[ citation needed ]

Hierarchy of vice presidents

Depending on the specific organization, the following may be an example of the hierarchy of the vice presidents. The following list explains where the VP sits in an organization:

RankU.S. executive officerUK executive officerInvestment bank executive officerIndia senior management hierarchyAsia Pacific executive officer
1President (second to chief executive officer)Managing director (second to CEO or CxO)PresidentManaging director (third to chairman, equal or sometimes second to CEO)President
2Deputy presidentDeputy managing directorDeputy presidentDeputy managing director or group executive or group headDeputy president
3First executive VP or senior EVPExecutive directorSEVPJoint president or SEVPDeputy president
4Executive VP, group VPEVPEVPEVP or directorEVP
5Senior VPSenior directorSenior managing directorSenior VPSenior VP
6Corporate VPDirectorManaging directorGroup VPCorporate VP
7Vice presidentDeputy directorExecutive directorVice presidentCorporate VP

This comparison is not strictly correct, as director is a legal term, meaning someone registered with the relevant country's company registrar (or simply named in the legal documents, for countries not having company registration) as having managerial control of the company, and having legal responsibility for its operation, whilst a vice president does not. In either case the responsibilities may be overall to the company, a region (US, EMEA, CEE...), business unit or function such as sales, marketing, IT etc.

In financial services companies

In financial companies, a "vice president" is usually a seniority rank that denotes higher responsibility, though such may not be leadership. The title does not denote a leadership position within the company, but often a role relatively junior to the executive board. Financial services companies have multiple vice presidents, [7] possibly because the title is a form of delayering when an employee can not be moved higher in the organization but still deserves recognition. [8] In most cases, the title merely implies that someone is in a medium-seniority individual contributor role. Larger financial institutions have thousands of employees with the title "vice president". [9]

In other organizations

In other organizations (e.g., trade unions, societies, clubs) one or multiple vice presidents are elected by the members of the organization. When multiple vice presidents are elected, the positions are usually numbered to prevent confusion as to who may preside or succeed to the office of president upon vacancy of that office (for example: first vice president, second vice president, and so on). [10] In some cases vice presidents are given titles due to their specific responsibilities, for example: vice president of operations, finance, etc. [10] In some associations the first vice president can be interchangeable with executive vice president and the remaining vice presidents are ranked in order of their seniority. Sometimes a vice president is also called presidium member, especially when there are more than person holding the post.

The primary responsibility of the vice president of a club or organization is to be prepared to assume the powers and duties of the office of the president in the case of a vacancy in that office. [10] If the office of president becomes vacant, the vice president (or in clubs with multiple vice presidents, the VP that occupies the highest-ranking office), will assume the office of president, with the lower vice presidents to fill in the remaining vice presidencies, leaving the lowest vice presidency to be filled by either election or appointment. [10] If the bylaws of a club specifically provide of the officer title of president-elect, that officer would assume the powers and duties of the president upon vacancy of that office only if specified in the bylaws. [10]

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.

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

A chief executive officer (CEO) is the highest officer charged with the management of an organization – especially a company or nonprofit institution.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Secretary</span> Office occupation supporting management

A secretary, administrative assistant, executive assistant, personal secretary, or other similar titles is a person whose work consists of supporting management, including executives, using a variety of project management, program evaluation, communication, and/or organizational skills within the area of administration. There is a diverse array of work experiences attainable within the administrative support field, ranging between internship, entry-level, associate, junior, mid-senior, and senior level pay bands with positions in nearly every industry, especially among white-collar careers.

A chief operating officer or chief operations officer (COO) is an executive who manages the personnel, resources, logistics, and daily operations of an organization. COOs are usually second-in-command immediately after the CEO, and reports directly to them and acts on their behalf in their absence.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Minister of Health (Canada)</span> Minister in the Cabinet of Canada

The minister of health is the minister of the Crown in the Canadian Cabinet who is responsible for overseeing health-focused government agencies including Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada, as well as enforcing the Canada Health Act, the law governing Canada's universal health care system.

An executive officer is a person who is principally responsible for leading all or part of an organization, although the exact nature of the role varies depending on the organization. In many militaries and police forces, an executive officer, or "XO", is the second-in-command, reporting to the commanding officer. The XO is typically responsible for the management of day-to-day activities, freeing the commander to concentrate on strategy and planning the unit's next move.

A chief technology officer (CTO) is an officer tasked with managing technical operations of an organization. They oversee and supervise research and development and serve as a technical advisor to a higher executive such as a chief executive officer.

A general manager (GM) is an executive who has overall responsibility for managing both the revenue and cost elements of a company's income statement, known as profit & loss (P&L) responsibility. A general manager usually oversees most or all of the firm's marketing and sales functions as well as the day-to-day operations of the business. Frequently, the general manager is responsible for effective planning, delegating, coordinating, staffing, organizing, and decision making to attain desirable profit making results for an organization.

A provost is a senior academic administrator. At many institutions of higher education, the provost is the chief academic officer, a role that may be combined with being deputy to the chief executive officer. They may also be the chief executive officer of a university, of a branch campus of a university, or of a college within a university.

The chief risk officer (CRO) or chief risk management officer (CRMO) or chief risk and compliance officer (CRCO) of a firm or corporation is the executive accountable for enabling the efficient and effective governance of significant risks, and related opportunities, to a business and its various segments. Risks are commonly categorized as strategic, reputational, operational, financial, or compliance-related. CROs are accountable to the Executive Committee and The Board for enabling the business to balance risk and reward. In more complex organizations, they are generally responsible for coordinating the organization's Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) approach. The CRO is responsible for assessing and mitigating significant competitive, regulatory, and technological threats to a firm's capital and earnings. The CRO roles and responsibilities vary depending on the size of the organization and industry. The CRO works to ensure that the firm is compliant with government regulations, such as Sarbanes–Oxley, and reviews factors that could negatively affect investments. Typically, the CRO is responsible for the firm's risk management operations, including managing, identifying, evaluating, reporting and overseeing the firm's risks externally and internally to the organization and works diligently with senior management such as chief executive officer and chief financial officer.

In German corporate governance, a Vorstand is the executive board of a corporation. It is hierarchically subordinate to the supervisory board (Aufsichtsrat), as German company law imposes a two-tier board of directors.

A chancellor is a leader of a college or university, usually either the executive or ceremonial head of the university or of a university campus within a university system.

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

The chairman, also chairperson, 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.

The chief sustainability officer, sometimes known by other titles, is the corporate title of an executive position within a corporation that is in charge of the corporation's "environmental" programs. Several companies have created such environmental manager positions in the 21st century to formalize their commitment to the environment. The rise of the investor ESG movement and stakeholder capitalism, has increased the need for corporations to address sustainability and social issues across their value chain, and address growing needs of external stakeholders. Normally these responsibilities rest with the facility manager, who has provided cost effective resource and environmental control as part of the basic services necessary for the company to function. However, as sustainability initiatives have expanded beyond the facility — so has the importance of the position to what is now a C-level executive role. The position of CSO has not been standardized across industries and individual companies which leads it to take on differing roles depending on the organization. The position has also been challenged as symbolic, in that it does not actually have the effect of increasing sustainable practices.

Chief business officer (CBO) is the position of the top operating executive of growing commercial companies or an academic/research institution. In the commercial space, CBO shows leadership in deal-making experience with a clear record of results and ultimate transactional responsibility. In higher education, the titles of vice president, associate dean, assistant dean, and director are also used for the role of the chief business officer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Director (business)</span> Title given to the senior management staff of a large organization

The term director is a title given to the senior management staff of businesses and other large organizations.

A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. 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 is also loosely defined; the president is usually the legally recognized highest rank of corporate officer, ranking above the various vice presidents, 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Edwin J. Hess</span>

Edwin J. Hess is an American businessman, Senior Vice President, and Management Committee Member at Exxon from 1993 to 1998. He had previously been the Vice President of Environment and Safety since 1990 and joined the company in 1957.


  1. "vice",
  2. "3 Reasons to Eliminate Hierarchy in Your Company". 21 November 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  3. "The Slow Death of the University". The Chronicle of Higher Education. 6 April 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  4. "Research scores of US top brass fail to shine". 20 July 2016. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  5. Pearce, Joshua (2016). "Are you overpaying your academic executive team? A method for detecting unmerited academic executive compensation". Tertiary Education and Management. 22 (3): 189–201. doi:10.1080/13583883.2016.1181198. S2CID   148102314.
  6. Benjamin Ginsberg. The Fall of the Faculty: The Rise of the All-Administrative University and Why It Matters (2011). Oxford University Press.
  7. According to The Economist, on the website LinkedIn, the title of vice-president grew 426% faster than website membership growth, from 2005 to 2009
  8. "The Legal Pitfalls of Job Title Inflation (Part I): Apparent Authority and Employee Misclassification". Association of Corporate Counsel. 2013.
  9. "Goldman Plays Damage Control - WSJ".
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 Robert, Henry M.; et al. (2011). Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo Press. pp. 457–458. ISBN   978-0-306-82020-5.

Further reading