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Publicly and privately held for-profit corporations confer corporate titles or business titles on company officials as a means of identifying their function in the organization. In addition, many non-profit organizations, educational institutions, partnerships, and sole proprietorships also confer corporate titles. The following is a list of common titles for corporate executives.

Variations

Note that there are considerable variations in the responsibilities of the titles.

Some companies have a Chairman and CEO, while the number two is the President and COO; other companies have a President and CEO but no official deputy.

Corporate titles are sometimes given more for prestige than out of any differentiation in job function. For example, at CIBC and BMO Financial Group, the position of Chief Operating Officer (COO) was created solely to facilitate the transition, as a means of grooming the future CEO before the current CEO retired. The division head (perhaps Executive Vice President or CEO of a division) is promoted to COO and takes over day-to-day and strategic planning, while the outgoing CEO is relegated to advisory duties. Once the new CEO formally takes power, the COO position is not replaced.

Executive Vice President is most frequently used to refer to a division head, however this position can also be known as Vice Chairman, or even President and CEO of the division, depending upon corporation structure, especially in the latter case when it is operated as a wholly-owned subsidiary instead of an internal division.

Corporate Titles

  • Executive or Non-Executive Chairperson, Chairman or 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. The CEO may assume the role of Executive Chairman. Recently, though, many companies have separated the roles of Chairman and CEO, resulting in a non-executive chairman, in order to improve corporate governance.
  • Chief accounting officer
  • Chief administrative officer
  • Chief Analytics Officer or CAO – high level corporate manager with overall responsibility for the analysis and interpretation of data relevant to a company's activities; generally reports to the CEO, or COO.
  • Chief Business Officer
  • Chief Business Development Officer or CBDO.
  • Chief Brand Officer or CBO – a relatively new executive level position at a corporation, company, organization, or agency, typically reporting directly to the CEO or board of directors. The CBO is responsible for a brand's image, experience, and promise, and propagating it throughout all aspects of the company. The brand officer oversees marketing, advertising, design, public relations and customer service departments. The brand equity of a company is seen as becoming increasingly dependent on the role of a CBO.
  • Chief Communications Officer or CCO.
  • Chief Compliance Officer - in charge of regulatory compliance, especially Sarbanes-Oxley.
  • Chief Creative Officer
  • Chief Credit Officer or CCO.
  • Chief Customer Officer - responsible in customer-centric companies for the total relationship with an organization’s customers.
  • Chief Data Officer or CDO
  • Chief Executive Officer or CEO (United States), Chief Executive or Managing director (United Kingdom, Commonwealth and some other English speaking countries) – The CEO of a corporation is the highest ranking management officer of a corporation and has final decisions over human, financial, environmental, technical operations of the corporation. The CEO is also a visionary, often leaving day-to-day operations to the President, COO or division heads. Other corporate officers such as the COO, CFO, CIO, and division heads report to the CEO. The CEO is also often the Chairman of the Board, especially in closely held corporations and also often in public corporations. Recently, though, many public companies have separated the roles of Chairman and CEO (This is long-standing normal practice under the British System), resulting in a non-executive chairman, in order to improve corporate governance. President and CEO is a popular combination if there is a non-executive chairman.
  • Chief Financial Officer or CFO – high level corporate officer with oversight of corporate finances; reports to the CEO. May concurrently hold the title of Treasurer or oversee such a position; it must be noted that Finance deals with accounting and audits, while Treasurer deals with company funds.
  • Chief Human Resources Officer or CHRO
  • Chief Information Officer or CIO – high level corporate manager with overall responsibility for the company's information resources and processing environment; generally reports to the CEO or COO.
  • Chief Information Security Officer or CISO.
  • Chief Innovation Officer
  • Chief Intellectual Property Officer or CIPO - responsible for the management of the IP assets and potential IP-related liabilities of the enterprise.
  • Chief Investment Officer or CIO – high level corporate officer responsible for the assets of an investment vehicle or investment management company and/or responsible for the asset-liability management (ALM) of typical large financial institutions such as insurers, banks and/or pension funds; generally reports to the CEO or CFO.
  • Chief Knowledge Officer or CKO – high level corporate officer responsible for ensuring that the organization maximizes the value it achieves through "knowledge".
  • Chief Legal Officer or CLO, the CLO is traditionally referred to as the General Counsel, or GC;
  • Chief Learning Officer or CLO, the CLO is commonly responsible for all Learning/Training Operations.
  • Chief Marketing Officer or CMO.
  • Chief Medical Officer or CMO; especially in a pharmaceutical company, the person responsible for scientific and medical excellence of the company's research, development and products.
  • Chief Networking Officer or CNO – responsible for the social capital within the company and between the company and its partners
  • Chief Operating Officer or COO – high level corporate officer with responsibility for the daily operation of the company; reports to the CEO. The COO often also carries the title of President, especially if the number one is the Chairman and CEO.
  • Chief Performance Officer
  • Chief Privacy Officer
  • Chief Process Officer or CPO.
  • Chief Procurement Officer or CPO.
  • Chief Promotions Officer or CPO.
  • Chief Risk Officer (Chief Risk Management Officer) or CRO. Common in financial institutions.
  • Chief Science Officer responsible for research, development and new technologies.
  • Chief Search Officer responsible for research, development and planning of brand search marketing.
  • Chief Security Officer or CSO.
  • Chief Strategy Officer (Chief Strategic Planning Officer) or CSO (CSPO).
  • Chief Tax Officer or CTO – high level corporate officer responsible for the tax function (compliance, accounting and planning) within a company. The CTO may report to the CEO, CFO, general counsel or the internal audit function.
  • Chief Technical Officer or CTO – (sometimes Chief Technology Officer) high level corporate officer responsible for the company's technical direction; in non-technology companies usually reports to the CIO but in technology companies, may report directly to the CEO.
  • Chief visionary officer
  • Chief International officer or CIO Responsible for development and implementation of overseas markets
  • Chief eXperience Officer or CXO is the person who is responsible of quality of Customer Service experience in any organisation
  • Director or Member of the Board of Directors - a high level official with a fiduciary responsibility of overseeing the operation of a corporation and elects or removes officers of a corporation; nominally, Directors, other than the Chairman are usually not considered to be employees of the company per se, although they may receive compensation, often including benefits; in publicly held companies. A Board of Directors is normally made up of members (Directors) who are a mixture of corporate officials who are also management employees of the company (inside directors) and persons who are not employed by the company in any capacity (outside directors or non-executive directors). In privately held companies, the Board of Directors often only consists of the statuatory corporate officials, and in sole proprietorships and partnerships, the board is entirely optional, and if it does exist, only operates in an advisory capacity to the owner or partners. Non-profit corporations are governed by a Board of Trustees instead of a Board of Directors
  • Director - manager of managers within an organization who is often responsible for a major business function and often reports to a Vice President. Often used with name of a functional area; Finance Director, Director of Finance, Marketing Director, etc. Not to be confused with a Member of the Board of Directors who is also referred to as a Director. Alternatively, a manager of managers is often referred to as a senior manager or associate vice president, depending upon levels of management.
  • President - legally recognized highest "titled" corporate officer outside of the CEO (who ranks highest). The President works directly for the Board of Directors and usually a member of the Board of Directors. The office of President can be limited by the Chairman/CEO to represent only one division within a corporation, such as the President of Sales. In the event there is no CEO, the President is the highest ranking officer but is not normally the Chairperson. There is much variation; often the CEO also holds the title of President, while a Chairman and CEO's deputy is often the President and COO. The President is often considered to be more focused upon daily operations compared to the CEO which is supposed to be the visionary.
  • Secretary or Company secretary - legally recognized "titled" corporate officer who reports to the Board of Directors and is responsible for keeping the records of the Board and the company. This title is often concurrently held by the treasurer in a dual position called secretary-treasurer; both positions may be concurrently held by the CFO. Note, however, that the Secretary has a reporting line to the Board of Directors, regardless of any other reporting lines conferred by concurrent titles.
  • Secretary-Treasurer - in many cases, the offices of Secretary and Treasurer are held by the same person. In this case, the position is commonly referred to by the combined title Secretary-Treasurer
  • Treasurer - legally recognized corporate officer entrusted with the fiduciary responsibility of caring for company funds. Often this title is held concurrently with that of Secretary in a dual role called secretary-treasurer. It can also be held concurrently with the title of CFO or fall under the jurisdiction of one, though the CFO tends to oversee the Finance Department instead, which deals with accounting and audits, while the Treasurer deals directly with company funds. Note, however, that the Treasurer has a reporting line to the Board of Directors, regardless of any other reporting lines conferred by concurrent titles.
  • Statutory agent
  • Superintendent
  • Supervisor
  • Foreman
  • General manager or GM
  • Manager
  • Owner (sometimes Proprietor or Sole Proprietor, for sole proprietorships)
  • Partner
  • Vice Chair or Vice Chairman - officer of the Board of Directors who stands in for the Chairman in his/her absence. An unrelated definition of Vice Chair describes an executive who is higher ranking or has more seniority than Executive Vice President. Sometimes, EVPs report to the Vice Chair who in turn reports directly to the CEO (so Vice Chairs in effect constitute an additional layer of management), other Vice Chairs have more responsibilities but are otherwise on an equal tier with EVPs. Executive vice chairman may not necessarily be on the board of directors.
  • Vice President - Middle or upper manager in a corporation. Depending on the corporate structure Vice Presidents report to the President, who will in turn report to the Chief Officer of their respective division, who will then report to the CEO. They often appear in various hierarchical layers such as Executive Vice President, Senior Vice President, Associate Vice President, or Assistant Vice President, with EVP usually considered the highest. Many times, corporate officers such as the CFO, COO, CIO, CTO, Secretary, or Treasurer will concurrently hold Vice President titles, commonly EVP or SVP. Vice Presidents in small companies are also referred to as chiefs of a certain division, such as VP of Finance, or VP of Administration. These titles are the same as CFO and such titles. It is not necessary to have a Vice President in most corporations.

Other corporate employee classifications include:

  • Exempt - Meaning that they're exempt from the FLSA. In a corporation, this generally applies to salaried professional staff, and executives, earning in excess of $23,660 annually.
  • Non-exempt - Generally an employee paid by the hour who is entitled to a minimum wage, overtime pay at the rate of time and one-half the regular rate for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week, as well as other protections under child labor and equal pay laws.

Most modern corporations also have non-employee workers. These are usually 'temps' (temporary workers) or consultants who, depending on the project and their experience, might be brought on to lead a task for which the skill-set did not exist within the company, or in the case of a temp, in the vernacular sense, to perform busy-work or an otherwise low-skilled repetitive task for which an employee is deemed too valuable to perform. Non-employees generally are employed by outside agencies or firms, but perform their duties within a corporation or similar entity. They do not have the same benefits as employees of that company, such as pay-grades, health insurance, or sick days. Some high-skilled consultants, however, may garner some benefits such as a bonus, sick leave, or food and travel expenses, since they usually charge a high flat-fee for their services, or otherwise garner high hourly wages. An example of high-skilled consultants include lawyers and accountants who may not be employed by a corporation, but have their own firms or practices. Most temps, however, are compensated strictly for the hours they work, and are generally non-exempt.

See also

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