Resumes & Cover Letters

A Guide To Executive Business Titles

March 18, 2021

Business titles or corporate titles are given to those who have a high level of responsibility for a company's success and profitability. They are the individuals who must strategize, plan and collaborate to keep a company or organization operating efficiently. Business titles and responsibilities likely have a wide range depending on each company and their needs. In this article, we discuss what executive business titles are, each job's specific responsibilities and the hierarchy of executive positions.

What are executive job titles?

Executive job titles are used to describe individuals who have C-level jobs. The "C" in C-level jobs means chief. C-level executives are responsible for the strategizing and decision-making that contributes to the success of a company or organization. Each executive's responsibilities and daily tasks will vary based on the company they work for.

Executive job titles also include those with president or director in their job title, and these executives collaborate with C-level executives to make decisions and strategize. They also manage and motivate teams for quality assurance and productivity.

List of executive titles and their responsibilities

Each executive has their own unique set of responsibilities that often change depending on the industry and company the executive works for. Most executives perform many job duties that may not be directly related to their job title. Here is a list of some well-known executive job titles, their primary responsibilities and average salaries:

National average salary: $94,965 per year

Primary responsibilities: A director of operations is responsible for the profitability and growth of an organization or company. They collaborate with various departments to improve the functionality and business processes for each department. This role may also work closely with project managers for specific programs they need to develop budgets for. Some companies have COOs and director of operations positions. A director of operations will report to the COO in a company that has both positions.

National average salary: $101,839 per year

Primary responsibilities: Corporate vice presidents are the second or third in command in a company, depending on the company's specific structure. Vice presidents may also have a specific area of expertise that they apply to their roles. This title is similar to or the same as a chief of marketing, chief information officer or chief marketing officer. Some organizations have one vice president or multiple vice presidents depending on the size of their company or the industry. Other vice presidents work in middle management and deal more directly with the workforce as supervisors of middle management.

National average salary: $112,353 per year

Primary responsibilities: CEOs are responsible for overseeing the entire C-level executive team. They also are responsible for making the major decisions, managing the resources and overall operations of a company. A CEO in a large corporation will deal with strategic decision-making that directs a company toward overall growth. CEOs in smaller corporations may deal with the day-to-day functions of a company. A CEO is usually chosen by the board of directors and their shareholders. CEOs communicate directly with the board and corporate operations. They are the visionaries of a company and often set the tone and corporate culture.

National average salary: $120,770 per year

Primary responsibilities: A COO works closely with the CEO of a company, and their role is defined by the CEO. In most corporate offices, a COO is responsible for overseeing the daily operations and keeping the CEO aware of significant changes or events. They may also create policies and operations strategies that they must communicate to employees to ensure employees are aligned with corporate goals. A COO may oversee or manage human resource management as well.

National average salary: $126,055 per year

Primary responsibilities: Chief information officers are in charge of information technology within a corporation. They are responsible for planning IT strategies that fit into the overall strategies and goals of a company. For instance, a CIO may recreate a website that attracts more customers or they may integrate new software to assist with inventory management. A CIO also manages the information technology department.

National average salary: $126,848 per year

Primary responsibilities: The president of a company is often the same position as a COO of a company. They report directly to the CEO and work closely with them to provide the organization with strategy, vision and financial management. President roles will vary greatly based on the structure of an organization and what role the board of directors requires or prefers a president of a company to have. In larger organizations, a president is responsible for implementing corporate goals with a more hands-on approach, and they deal directly with the entire workforce.

National average salary: $127,622 per year

Primary responsibilities: Chief financial officers are responsible for managing the overall financial actions of a company. They track the cash flow of a company, handle financial planning, analyze the company's finances to identify strengths and weaknesses, and they propose action plans to fix financial issues. They are also responsible for managing the accounting and finance divisions of a company to ensure reports are finished accurately and on time. In a financial institution, a CFO is the highest-ranking executive.

National average salary: $128,561 per year

Primary responsibilities: A chief compliance officer is an executive who makes sure a company is complying with all legal and regulatory requirements from outside the company as well as internal policies. They also work with management and employees to assess and manage regulatory risk. These executives are usually the head of the compliance department and they manage the auditing of internal procedures.

National average salary: $129,961 per year

Primary responsibilities: Chief digital officers are in charge of driving a company's growth by updating analog processes into digital ones that increase efficiency and streamline daily duties and processes. This enables innovation by updating platforms, digital tools, technologies and services. Some organizations may not have this position. Instead, they may choose to delegate these responsibilities to other C-level executives.

National average salary: $134,747 per year

Primary responsibilities: Chief marketing officers are in charge of facilitating growth and increasing sales for a company. Their responsibilities include developing and executing strategies that drive the organization to promote brand awareness and provide the company with a competitive advantage. They must shift and adjust to market trends that change rapidly in today's market.

National average salary: $140,450 per year

Primary responsibilities: Chief talent officers are in charge of talent acquisition within a company. Their responsibilities may include creating strategies to attract and recruit new talent into leadership roles. They may also organize training and evaluate employee performance to maintain a productive and healthy workplace.

Hierarchy of executive titles

There is a specific hierarchy to each executive title. These C-level executives have a chain of command that they follow to ensure the success and profitability of the company they work for. Here is a list of executive titles in order from the highest-ranking executive position to the lowest ranking position:

Tier 1

Tier 1 includes the C-level executives of a company and is considered senior management. These are the highest titles in an organization, and these titles are given to individuals who have a wealth of knowledge and experience in business management, strategy and marketing. The CEO is the highest title presiding over the other executives in a business. The COO is the second chain of command in an organization and usually oversees the other executives. The other C-level executives are equal to each other with their titles and positions. However, the hierarchy and titles may differ depending on the company or organization. These titles include:

  • Chief executive officer
  • Chief operating officer
  • Chief financial officer
  • Chief information officer
  • Chief innovation officer
  • Chief strategy officer
  • Chief compliance officer
  • Chief marketing officer
  • Chief talent officer
  • Chief human resources officer
  • Chief user experience officer
  • President
  • Partner
  • Chairman
  • Superintendent

Tier 2

Tier 2 business titles are considered middle management of a company. These roles are direct subordinates of Tier 1 business titles. Middle managers are semi-executive positions that are responsible for leading teams of employees and ensuring their productivity aligns with the organization's goals. These titles include:

  • Vice president
  • General manager
  • Director
  • Manager
  • Supervisor
  • Assistant manager
  • Associate


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