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CEO Chief Executive Officer Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: December 10, 2022

A Chief Executive Officer (CEO) ,or Chief Operating Officer (COO), is responsible for performing duties as the highest-ranking executive within a corporation to guide company practices and procedures. Their duties include overseeing company operations, communicating between board members and other company executives and making important decisions that impact the company’s brand identity and financial health.

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CEO duties and responsibilities 

As the highest-ranking executive in a company or organization, the CEO is primarily responsible for leading the company or organization and making major decisions for the organization. Other duties include:

  • Act as the figurative head of the organization when communicating with stockholders, government entities and the general public.
  • Lead the development of the organization’s long- and short-term strategies.
  • Manage overall operations and make major decisions affecting the organization.
  • Manage the organization’s resources.
  • Negotiate or approve agreements and contracts for the organization.
  • Manage company organizational structure.
  • Communicate with the board of directors.
  • Assess and minimize risks to the company.
  • Set strategic goals.
  • Provide company-wide leadership.
  • Serve as the company’s primary spokesperson.
  • Identify and address companywide problems.
  • Develop and uphold the company’s culture and mission/vision.
  • Implement strategic plans by working with senior stakeholders.
  • Evaluate and track the success of the company in reaching its goals.
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What does a CEO do? 

CEOs typically work for small, medium-sized or large corporations across a range of industries to provide leadership and insights into company operations. They work closely with other company executives to determine ways to promote the longevity of their company. Their job is to review financial reports, participate in board meetings and review suggestions from managers and employees to maximize employee productivity. They may also act as a spokesperson for their company to give quotes to media personnel in response to upcoming company events and product launches or legal matters.

CEO skills and qualifications

Most CEOs have experience working in upper management in the same or similar industry. Other skills and qualifications include:

  • Good communication skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Time management skills
  • Decision-making skills
  • Prioritization and delegation skills

CEO salary expectations   

A CEO makes an average of $111,521 per year. This salary may vary depending on education, level of experience and geographic location.

CEO education and training requirements 

A bachelor’s or master’s degree is a requirement for most CEO positions. In the private sector for-profit businesses, the preferred bachelor’s or master’s degree is usually in business administration or a related area such as management or marketing. In some industries, a degree in industry-specific areas such as chemistry, engineering or medicine is preferred. Government and nonprofit organizations consider degrees in public administration, law, business or liberal arts. In the education field, such as School Superintendent and College President positions, a master’s degree is required, with a Ph.D. preferred or required depending upon the organization.  

CEO experience requirements

CEO positions require previous supervisory and management experience. Whether the experience is gained as a result of coming up through the ranks of the hiring employer or other employers, the applicant should have a history of successfully handling the increased responsibilities associated with each promotion they earned. While on-the-job management experience is the primary factor in considering applicants, successful completion of various executive-level leadership and management professional development programs can be an additional factor to consider.

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Frequently asked questions about CEOs


What is the difference between the CEO and the President of a company?

The difference between the CEO and the President of a company is that the CEO performs a more senior role with a broad set of responsibilities to promote the long-term health and prosperity of the company. In contrast, a company’s President works under the CEO and other company executives to oversee daily operations. Another way to distinguish between these two roles is that a CEO is responsible for managing other company executives. At the same time, a President is responsible for managing company supervisors and business managers who work directly with lower-level employees.


What are the daily duties of a CEO?

On a typical day, a CEO starts by talking with their Executive Assistant to receive messages from board members or company executives. They check their email and respond to time-sensitive messages. They also make phone calls and prepare for meetings. Throughout the day, they host and participate in meetings with the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) and company advisors to discuss business strategies and financial progress. 

Once back in their office, CEOs continue answering emails and reviewing notes from previous meetings. They use their downtime to write entries for the company newsletter to inform employees about upcoming events or to address current company issues. They also work to raise money for their company by meeting with potential investors in-office or at restaurants and other external locations. 


What qualities make a good CEO?

A good CEO is someone who has a natural ability to lead, which enables them to guide their organization in accordance with smart financial decisions and ethical practices. They take accountability on behalf of the company and any legal incidents that occur. CEOs should also have innovative skills that allow them to envision their company’s future while also using their professional background to implement their vision in a practical way. 

Further, a good CEO has a personable nature and excellent interpersonal communication that helps them connect with company personnel, shareholders and consumers alike. Quality CEOs also use their position to support charitable initiatives and causes like fair trade produce, sustainable machinery and workplace equality. 


Who does a CEO report to?

A CEO typically reports to the board of directors. The board of directors includes company officials, shareholders with large investments in the company and professionals with valuable industry experience. A CEO may also report to the company’s founder or company owner to provide them with updates regarding the company and its operations.

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