What Does a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Do?

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By Susan M. Heathfield. Human Resources Expert

Susan Heathfield is a Human Resources expert. She is a management and organization development consultant who specializes in human resources issues and in management development to create forward thinking workplaces. Susan is also a professional facilitator, speaker, trainer, and writer.

Susan is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Susan contributes regularly to professional publications including a book chapter for ASTD and a recent article in the American Society for Quality 's Journal for Quality and Participation. This Web site is recommended as a resource by many colleges and universities including the ILR School Catherwood Library at Cornell University.

Susan has covered Human Resources for About.com since 2000.

You can read more about Susan's current and past work on her Google Profile: Susan Heathfield .

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is the highest ranking executive manager in a corporation or organization. The CEO has responsibility for the overall success of an entire organization. The CEO has the ultimate authority to make final decisions for an organization.

The CEO has specific responsibilities depending on the needs of his or her organization. The job description of a CEO varies by organization.

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The CEO has overall responsibility for creating, planning, implementing, and integrating the strategic direction of an organization. This includes responsibility for all components and departments of a business.

The CEO makes certain that the organization's leadership maintains constant awareness of both the external and internal competitive landscape, opportunities for expansion, customers, markets, new industry developments and standards, and so forth.

The CEO reports to the Board of Directors or in some nonprofit settings, such as state government, the CEO may be the head of an agency or department and report to the office of the governor.

The CEO serves at the discretion of the Board of Directors.

The CEO may also own the business, and may have founded the business, so his or her commitment to the business is significant. He may also own a significant portion of the company or its stock. In these cases, a Board of Directors may exist, but its authority is nominal and advisory.

Whether

the top person is president and CEO, or just CEO, he or she is the top person in command in an organization and has specific responsibilities depending on the needs of his or her organization.

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Thus, the CEO's job responsibilities can vary from organization to organization. As with any level of management in an organization, the CEO's role starts with the fundamental job responsibilities of a manager .

Because the role of the CEO bears significant responsibility, accountability, and authority within an organization, the CEO has these additional responsibilities as he or she leads the business.

Responsibilities of a CEO

The responsibilities of a CEO include:

  • Creating, communicating, and implementing the organization's vision. mission. and overall direction. Leading the development and implementation of the overall organization's strategy .
  • Leading, guiding, directing, and evaluating the work of other executive leaders including presidents, vice presidents. and directors, depending on the organization's reporting structure.
  • Soliciting advice and guidance, when appropriate, from a Board of Directors.
  • Formulating and implementing the strategic plan that guides the direction of the business or organization.
  • Overseeing the complete operation of an organization in accordance with the direction established in the strategic plans.
  • Evaluating the success of the organization.
  • Maintaining awareness of both the external and internal competitive landscape, opportunities for expansion, customers, markets, new industry developments and standards, and so forth.
  • Representing the organization for civic and professional association responsibilities and activities in the local community, the state, and at the national level. (Other executive leaders bear responsibility for these vetures as interested or assigned as well.)
  • Demonstrating the leadership necessary to make the organization's mission a success. This leadership includes providing leadership vision. leadership that attracts followers. and all other aspects of successful leadership .

The organization's CEO is a key player in whether and how well an organization will succeed. If they carry out these job responsibilities effectively, it will magnify the probability that their organization will experience success.

See more about ten additional factors that help a CEO succeed: 10 Secrets of Leadership Success .

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Source: humanresources.about.com

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