Chief Executive Officer Job Description

Chief executive officers, or CEOs, oversee strategic and business decisions for organizations. They are responsible for motivating and leading subordinate staff, building relationships with external companies and stakeholders, and reviewing financial decisions. Chief executive officers often work long hours, and this job can involve evenings and weekends, particularly around important events. This job is well suited to people who have excellent leadership skills, an entrepreneurial mindset, great business acumen and knowledge of business processes, and a talent for problem-solving.
Chief Executive Officer Duties and Responsibilities
Chief executive officers perform a range of duties that vary depending on their organization. Based on job listings we analyzed, a chief executive officer’s duties typically involve:
Formulate Policies
CEOs are responsible for developing strategic plans and policies that guide the direction of the business. This involves significant input from other key members of the organization to ensure that these plans can be implemented with minimal risk to the company.
Develop Company Goals
CEOs work with other members of the senior management team to develop goals and targets that the organization works toward over the next financial year.
Manage Company Resources
CEOs oversee all operations that the business is involved with. They also monitor how the company uses its resources to ensure operations produce results that coincide with the business’s overall strategy.
Build Relationships with Stakeholders
CEOs build relationships with key partners and stakeholders, and they serve as a point of contact for important shareholders.
Oversee Company Budgets
This job involves reviewing financial reports to ensure the company is going in the right direction as well as making investment decisions that advance the business and increase profits.
Chief Executive Officer Skills and Qualifications
Chief executive officers are excellent communicators who effectively motivate teams of people, identify problems, and find solutions that benefit the company. Typically, employers require a bachelor’s degree or several years’ experience as well as the following abilities:

  • Leadership skills – leadership skills are critical to this job, since CEOs manage entire organizations. They must coordinate staff, resources, and policies effectively
  • Problem-solving skills – CEOs identify and resolve issues by finding appropriate solutions, so good problem-solving skills are valuable to this job
  • Time management – CEOs manage multiple tasks and projects at one time, so excellent time management, organization skills, the ability to stay calm under pressure are important
  • Communication skills – CEOs must communicate with individuals clearly and in a motivating way. They also need to discuss issues and negotiate with people inside and outside of the organization
  • Decision-making – CEOs regularly make decisions when developing policies and managing the organization, so strong decision-making skills are vital to this job

Chief Executive Officer Education and Training
There are no set requirements to become a chief executive officer, and people in this position come from many backgrounds, although they typically have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration or an area relevant to their industry. Many CEOs advance within a firm from lower-level management positions, and in some organizations it may be possible to replace qualifications with work experience. Gaining leadership and management qualifications can help professionals advance to this position more quickly.
Chief Executive Officer Salary and Outlook
The median annual salary for chief executive officers is nearly $165,000, according to PayScale. Chief executive officers in the bottom 10th percentile earn around $73,000 annually, while the highest paid earn close to $336,000 a year. The higher end of this pay scale includes considerable bonuses and profit-sharing opportunities that reach as much as $149,000 and $125,000, respectively.
The employing company and career length have the biggest impact on pay for this role. Over half of all employers offer dental plans and medical insurance as part of their benefits package. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that this sector will grow 8 percent through 2026.
Helpful Resources
We’ve collected some of the best resources to help you build a career as a chief executive officer:
The CEO Next Door: The 4 Behaviors That Transform Ordinary People into World-Class Leaders – based on an analysis of more than 2,600 leaders, this book seeks to overturn the myths surrounding what it takes to get to the top. It reveals the common attributes that CEOs have and how readers can apply those choices and skills to their own careers to encourage more success
The MBA Bootcamp: What Every Manager Must Know to Succeed – good business is essential for becoming successful as a CEO, and this book outlines the skills needed to beat career goals. It shares the formula for reaching targets in business, navigating a rapidly changing business environment, getting the best return on investment, and much more
Chief Executive Officer Network – this LinkedIn group has more than 14,000 members and is the perfect place to expand and develop ideas, connect with other CEOs in various industries, and discover new job opportunities
Tom Glocer’s Blog – this blog maintained by Tom Glocer, former CEO of Thomson Reuters, covers everything from business ethics and strategic issues to trends. It is a great way to learn from one of the most successful CEOs in today’s business market

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