CEO vs the President

Here is one for all you MBA yuppies out there:

What is the difference between a CEO and the President of a corporation? What are the powers and duties of each? Can the President fire the CEO? Or vice versa?

My comany has a President . . . but not a CEO. But the comany that owns US had both! HELP.

Responses by MBAs and corporate types (or Trump)only, please.

In my first draft of a response, I was speaking completely out of my ass: I was going to say that there’s no real difference except for an implied size of the company, where CEOs basically captain a larger ship.

Good thing I checked with my idiot, yet MBA holding, brother: a CEO (and any title starting with a C, like CFO or COO) is an officer of the company, a member of the board of directors, who are not employed by the company (but may receive honorariums or such). A president is an employee of the company, just like the zit-faced boy who takes the mail round daily.

That’s not to say that cross-overs don’t happen: a CEO may take over the presidency of the company, and a president (or vice president, or anyone, really) may sit on the board of directors. But by title alone, they are distinct positions: employees run the company, officers oversee the operations of the company in general. It’s common for officers of the company to be completely uninvolved in the running of the company, and for prominent citizens to be placed on boards for no other reason than star power, though positions like CEO and such imply direct oversight of relevent areas (with the CEO having direct oversight of the whole company).

Never attribute to an -ism anything more easily explained by common, human stupidity.

Let this be a lesson to all: always close your tags when using italics.

Never attribute to an -ism anything more easily explained by common, human stupidity.

The president is an employee of the company, just like any other member of management (albeit the top member of management).

The CEO is an owner (stockholder) of the company, the head of the board of directors.

They can, of course, be the same…

“Drink your coffee! Remember, there are people sleeping in China.”

Dennis Matheson —
Hike, Dive, Ski, Climb —

Continuing from hansel’s post: if you watch the business news, you will frequently see various bigwigs referred to as “President and CEO.” (They get a salary and a share of the pot.)

A lot of this is driven by rules from the SEC regarding the rights, responsibilities, and obligations of people who get to be in charge of large quantities of other people’s money.


In my experience, I’ve seen Presidents working for CEO’s and CEO’s working for Presidents – not to mention combinations of the two. More often, CEO’s work for Presidents.

The President is usually also an officer of the company. The officers and their responsibilities are determined by a corporation’s bylaws.

As far as corporations go: They are owned by shareholders, managed (that is final management authority rests with) by directors and operated by officers and employees.

I don’t think there’s any single standard for the division of duties between “President” and “CEO”. Each company defines it as they wish. Compare it to middle management: Is a “Director” superior to a “Manager”. Maybe so at Exploitco, Inc., but maybe not at Gougem Credit, Ltd.

Now, if it were my company, the head cheese would be the President. The CEO would work for the President and would be the first among equals of the other “chiefs” (i.e. the CFO, COO, CIO, etc.) Either that, or I would abolish all titles except for “Supreme Divine Emperor of Coolness” and “Flunky”.

Plunging like stones from a slingshot on Mars.