For an owner-managed LLC, that is. I’m doing my second LLC now, and I have yet to come up with a good-sounding title. (I’m partial to “Overlord,” but clients might balk at that.) Previously, my business partner and I were simply “Partners” or “Creative directors.” But as I’m pretty well heading up the whole shebang this time through, I want something more high-falutin’. I know that “Member” is the technical term, but it sounds pretty low on the totem pole.
“CEO” and “President” have very specific meanings when applied to Corporations. Can I use either of them when referring to an LLC? Or is there some other convention? Am I stuck with a simple “Owner?” Or should I stick with the vague (at least from a hierarchical standpoint) “Creative Director?”
Managing member is the official term. Principal works. CEO (or Chief Executive) is still ok, IMO. Ditto creative director (here you aren’t using director in the sense of officers and directors). What about Fearless Leader?
To paraphrase the old joke about where the 800-gorilla sets, whatever he wants to be called, so long as it’s not misleading regarding his role in the LLC. The three I last dealt with, one had a “Manager,” one a “Member,” and one a “Managing Director.” (The one with “Member” was one of those odd single-member LLCs permitted under some states’ law.)
You probably named him as “partner,” which is a term that is not legally meaningful in the context of an LLC, although it does get used. Anyone with an ownership interest (LLCs don’t have shareholders because they don’t have shares like corporations) in an LLC is a member, with a few exceptions. http://www.delcode.state.de.us/title6/c018/index.htm
Although, for Federal tax purposes, LLC members (at least of the LLCs I’ve been in ) are Partners (in a Partnership … vs. Sole Proprietorships or Corporations, which are other ways that LLCs can be classified for Federal tax purposes). Since the Feds don’t quite recognize LLCs the way states do.
It is a bad idea to use the term “Partner” or “General Partner.” An LLC provides limited liability for its members and managers which a general partnership does not provide. You do not want to muddy the waters about what type of entity you are or provide any ammunition in the event of an attempt to “pierce the corporate [LLC] veil.” Such a challenge should not be successful unless you are also lax in things like LLC/personal accounts and taking actions in the LLC’s name, but it is better to avoid accumulating issues.
I know lots of LLCs and corporations use the term “partners,” but I say don’t do it. Overlord works for me, though.
The general answer is the whatever the LLC agreement says the head is called.
The hallmark of US LLCs is their flexibility of organization. Most LLC statutes permit the overall governance to be vested in the members or the managers (which need not be members) or some combination of both, and neither the members nor the managers need to be individuals. They also permit the appointment of any officers and agents that the members/managers appoint in accordance with the agreements among the parties.
In practice, a small LLC will have one or more “managers” as the leading officers, and a larger one will have officers with similar titles to corporations.
But, if your fellow members (if any) prefer “overlord”, there should be no problem.
I was a bit alarmed seeing members of a LLC being called ‘partners’
The ‘Limited’ in Limited Liability is a warning that its owners and managers are not personally liable for company debts.
A partnership means that the partners are personally liable, so describing someone as a ‘partner’ is misleading, it is like describing them as a ‘guarantor’.
Fairly recently Limited Partnerships have turned up, which strikes me as an oxymoron.
As far as titles go, when I had my software Ltd company, I called myself ‘Technical Director’, a guy who worked for me has a thriving company only partly involved with software and he calls himself the same.
We both found/find it rather useful as sales people tend to be a bit leery of hassling a technical geek - and those that need to know tend to catch on pretty quickly.