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A vice president (vice-president in British English) is an officer in government or business who is below a president in rank. The name comes from the Latin vice meaning 'in place of'. In some countries, the vice president is called the deputy president. A common colloquial term for the office is veep, deriving from a phonetic interpretation of the abbreviation VP.

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Vice presidents in government

In government, a vice president is a person whose primary responsibility is to replace the president on the event of his or her death, resignation or incapacity. Vice presidents are either elected jointly with the president as his or her running mate, elected separately, or appointed independently after the president's election.

Governments with vice presidents generally have only one person in this role at any time. If the president is not present, dies, resigns, or is otherwise unable to fulfill his or her duties, the vice president will generally serve as president. In many presidential systems, the vice president does not wield much day-to-day political power, but is still considered an important member of the cabinet. Several vice presidents in the Americas held 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 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 this capacity, the vice president may thus assume the role of a de facto symbolic head of state, a position which is lacking in a system of government where the powers of head of state and government are fused.

The vice president's position can mean different things in different democracies. Most states with parliamentary systems do not have vice presidents, but instead name another office-holder – often the president of the upper house of parliament or even the prime minister – to act as effective vice president. However, in India, the Vice President also plays the role of the chairman of the upper house, the Rajya Sabha. In the Republic of Ireland, a collective vice presidency exists called the Presidential Commission, made up of the chairmen of both houses of the Oireachtas (parliament), along with the Irish Chief Justice. In Germany, the de facto vice president is the President of the Bundesrat (upper house of parliament), in Poland it is the Marshal of the Sejm (lower house), and in France it is the speaker of the Senate. In Italy the Speaker of the Senate (de-facto upper house of Italian Parliament) assumes the powers of President in the event of a presidential incapacitation, but only for a short time until a new parliamentary election is held. In Russia, the prime minister serves as de facto vice president, although he or she has much more power than the Vice President of the United States.

Vice presidents in business

In business, "vice president" refers to a rank in management. A trade union may also elect a vice president. Most companies that use this title generally have large numbers of people with the title of vice president with different categories (e.g. vice president for finance); their closest analogy within the US federal government structure is therefore not the Vice President as such, but a Cabinet Secretary. A vice president in business usually reports directly to the president or CEO of the company. When there are several vice presidents in a company they are sometimes ranked by naming the highest ranking Executive Vice President, the second highest ranking Senior Vice President, and the remainder of the management team just VP. There are usually several SVPs in one company, when that title is used. There can also be more than one EVP. The title of Assistant Vice President is typically used in large organizations as a subordinate rank to Vice President. The title of Second Vice President may be used in associations to designate an individual with rank directly below that of the Vice President.

In large brokerage firms and investment banks, there are usually several VPs in each local branch office, the title being more of a marketing approach for customers, than denoting an actual managerial position within the company.

A corporate vice president is rarely "second in line" to succeed the corporate president following death or resignation. Such decisions are usually left up to the board of directors.


Simple English

A vice president is someone who helps the president conduct his duties. A vice president also takes over if the president is no longer able to conduct his or her duties. In the United States, the current Vice President is Joe Biden.









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