Managing Director Job Description

Managing directors, also known as chief executives, control the day-to-day operations of a company and are responsible for its performance. They carry out the strategy set by the chairperson and board of directors. Most industries employ managing directors; publicly traded companies tend to hire the most. Managing directors work in corporate offices. The amount of hours they work depends on their industry, as industries such as finance and accounting have busy seasons that may involve 70- or 80-hour work weeks. Decision makers, managing directors are comfortable taking responsibility for their decisions and thrive in a high-pressure environment.

An executive position, managing directors answer to the chairperson and the board of directors. They often have dozens, if not hundreds, of employees under their control, as well as the VPs and middle managers who direct these employees. According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for top executives, which includes managing directors, is set to rise 8 percent through 2026.


Managing Director Duties and Responsibilities

Being a managing director involves a variety of core tasks. From our analysis of job postings, some of the main things they do include:

Formulate and Implement Company Policy

Managing directors work with the chairperson and board of directors to set all of the company’s policies and procedures. This includes things such as compensation packages, organizational hierarchy, sexual harassment policies, and an employee code of conduct.

Formulate and Implement Business Strategy

Managing directors also work with the chairperson and board of directors to formulate the overall business strategy of the organization. This involves identifying company values, creating a mission statement, and making decisions based on market research. They then explain the strategy to their executives who implement the strategy down the ladder.

Serve as Face of Company to Press

Today’s managing director is part-PR person, especially in customer-facing companies. Today’s consumer flocks to brands that have humanized themselves; this means showcasing the executives who run the show, which involves activities such as volunteering, giving interviews, and attending networking events.

Manage and Develop Executive Team

Managing directors are only as successful as their team of executives, especially at a large organization with several departments. They are responsible for hand-picking these executives and serving as a mentor to enhance their professional development.

Oversee Operational Efficiency of Company

Managing directors are responsible for making sure all the moving parts in each department are operating at full productivity. This includes putting out small fires before they become big problems.

Maintain Healthy Relationship With Chairperson and Board Members

A power struggle between the managing director and the chairperson can be the kiss of death for a company. A successful managing director maintains strong relationships with the chairperson and board members in order to best serve the goals of the organization.


Managing Director Skills

Being a managing director requires strong soft skills and expert knowledge of the operating area of their business acquired from the years of experience required to rise to this position. They also have to be experts in the operational tasks associated with running their organization, as they have to oversee all the moving parts. It takes a cool head and the ability to think quickly to do well in this position. Qualifications found among successful managing directors include:

  • Leadership skills – a good managing director leads, coaches, and mentors their staff and board members, supporting their professional development
  • Strategic thinking and capacity-building – have a long-term, conceptual view of the organization, setting policy and creating strategies
  • Communication skills – speaking directly to other members of management, lower-level employees, and clients; often represents company to stakeholders and the public
  • Operations management -guiding and monitoring the overall workflow of the organization from a high-level perspective to ensure all business goals are met


Managing Director Education and Training

Managing directors usually have at least a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Some companies prefer candidates with a master’s degree. Some may also take development courses in the area of their specific industry. More important than education is experience at the executive level. Managing directors must have years of executive experience before reaching the senior executive position.


Managing Director Salary

According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national median salary for chief executives, which includes managing directors, is $181,210. Those in the top 10 percent make above $208,000, while those in the bottom 10 percent make below $69,280. Where one sits on this scale is based on industry, company size, and experience.


Managing Director Resources

Do you see yourself becoming a managing director at a company in your industry? If so, check out the resources below.

National Management Association – The National Management Association is one of the top organizations dedicated to leadership development. It offers proprietary courses and webinars to members that are great preparatory work for aspiring managing directors.

American Society of Association Executives – This organization represents more than 7,600 organizations among its 39,000 members. Its website contains resources for executives on finance, leadership skills, human resources, marketing, and technology.

CEO Blog – Time Leadership – This is the blog of Tim E. Still, the CEO of Danby. He updates at least a couple of times a month with articles that cover topics related to running an organization.

Chris Brady’s Leadership Blog – Chris Brady is an award-winning author and speaker with a handful of books on marketing, finance, and leadership. His blog is updated frequently with leadership strategies managing directors can use to develop their leaders.

How to Become CEO: The Rules to Rising to the Top of any Organization – Jeffrey J. Fox wrote this book based on his years of experience as a CEO of a marketing consultant firm. It has actionable tips backed by real-world case studies that make it a great guide for aspiring managing directors.


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