For every company, the corporate structure is different. This structure is formed based on various factors that include shareholder status, non-profit designations, government philosophy and a lot more. A lot of the larger companies have a board of directors. In such companies, leadership is divided among two posts – a chief executive officer, also called CEO, and an Executive Chairman. Understanding the differences between Executive Chairman vs. CEO is difficult as these are two of the highest job levels in a company.

In this article we will first explore the duties of these two roles individually. Then we will understand in depth the differences between Executive Chairman vs. CEO.

What does a CEO do?

ceo vs executive chairman

The post of the chief executive officer, or CEO, holds the topmost rank or position in an organization. A huge weight rests on the shoulders of this post holder as it is their job to make sure that their company reaches the level of success that they are dreaming of achieving. Knowing this key job role is instrumental to understand difference between Executive Chairman vs. CEO.

Some of the other primary duties of CEOs are –

  1. A CEO is the top-most manager of the company and it is their job to supervise the work done by the C-Level executive team of the company and that of the senior management.
  2. A CEO is also the board member that provides his view on the daily operations in the board meetings.
  3. It is the CEO’s job to articulate the company’s vision and set the tone of the company.
  4. A CEO also makes top-level strategic decisions that play the most important role in guiding the growth of the company.
  5. A CEO also has to nurture and establish relationships with other companies. This is so that it can strengthen the ties of the company and lead to good business results.
  6. They manage the resources of the company and work closely with the financial department to monitor the expenses and revenue.
  7. The management of the market placement, marketing and sales management expansion possibilities fall under the list of tasks of a CEO.
  8. A CEO presents the business goals, strategies, and results to the board of directors in update meetings that take place almost regularly.
  9. It is the CEO’s job to implement the decisions taken in the board meetings and execute them by delegating the tasks.
  10. Finally, a CEO also represents the company in public, be it through professional organizations, press conferences and also community interaction.

What does a Executive Chairman do?

ceo vs executive chairman

Now, the executive chairman of a company is the person who is the head of the board of directors, or the board of trustees. It is not the job of the chairman to work on the daily operations. Rather her/his job is to ensure smooth execution. This forms a key difference between Executive Chairman vs. CEO.

Some of the primary duties that an Executive Chairman undertakes are –

  1. The executive chairman sets the agendas based on the overall business goals which are then discussed in the board meetings.
  2. It is the job of the Executive Chairman to voice the opinions on matters which are then voted for by the other board members.
  3. The Executive Chairman is also the one who represents the investors’ interests in the board meetings.
  4. They also define the long-term company goals in the annual plans for three years, five years or ten years.
  5. The chairman monitors the stability of the company and ensures that the company survives if there is an economic crisis or change.
  6. The executive chairman evaluates the performances of the high-level managers and makes suggestions which they think are needed for improvements.
  7. They review the financial results of the company and set the internal oversight procedures that determine transparency and accuracy.
  8. The chairman also looks over the task of appointing and terminating people from the higher positions, if they are not providing as much as is expected from them. The chairman also holds the power to terminate the CEO if that is needed for the betterment of the business.
  9. The executive chairman coordinates the assignments in the board committees.

What’s the difference between Executive Chairman vs. CEO?

It might be difficult to understand the difference between Executive Chairman vs. CEO. Some of the major differences between Executive Chairman vs. CEO are –

1. Perspective

The chairman is the man who isn’t in the front. They do their job from the background and guide the team for high-level policy decisions. The CEO leads from within the company and looks over the operation structures and initiates the operations.

2. Daily Operations

The chairman usually doesn’t look over the day-to-day operations. It is the job of the CEO to supervise the regular tasks that employees do in the company. This too forms a key difference between Executive Chairman vs. CEO.

3. Rank between Executive Chairman vs. CEO

The position of the chairman is the highest rank on the board of trustees or directors. While the CEO’s position is the highest-ranking position in the operational part of the company.

4. Reporting

The members of the board of the company report to the chairman about their concerns. The Chairman then brings attention to these in the board meetings. On the other side, the senior executives or the senior managers of the company report to the CEO about the daily tasks that the latter supervises.

5. Delegate

It is the job of the chairman to delegate the board members so that they can serve as a united committee of advisors. The CEO, once again, delegates the senior executives and managers to serve as a successful and fast-paced business unit.

6. Experience of Executive Chairman vs. CEO

If you are someone who has more experience of directly managing a group of employees, have top-level leadership skills and can manage to be the one to lead the daily operations of a company, then the role of CEO is the best option for you. However, if you are a good advisor and don’t want to be involved in the daily operations then you should be an executive officer.

7. Preferences

Consider your preferences over your experiences. That is what will guide you to decide whether you want to be a CEO or chairman.  You will prefer being a chairman if you prefer to lead with the help of parliamentary sources and your advice. Similarly, if you prefer to be involved in regular business operations then you would prefer to be a CEO.

Executive Chairman vs. CEO

Finally, no matter which post you decide on, your duties will be heavier than most. In such cases, you would also need to take care of yourself along with your company. Most of the emails that people send you will all require utmost attention. This might come in the way of your important duties.

In such cases, you can use email management apps like Mailman. Mailman is an email management client which brings to its users a lot of different features which enables them to take the best from it. Features like Do Not Disturb ensure that you get the rest when you want it. However, there is also a VIP list where you can add senders, websites and keywords so that if an email is extremely important and has one of the words added to your VIP List, then they will surpass all the customized features set by for you to receive the email immediately.

Which is higher CEO or executive chairman?

The CEO is the top senior executive over management while the board chairperson is the head of the board of directors.

Is chairman and CEO the same thing?

No, the Chairman or the Executive Chairman and CEO are two different positions. The CEO is the top senior executive over management while the board chairperson is the head of the board of directors.

What is an executive chairman?

The executive chairman of a company is the person who is the head of the board of directors, or the board of trustees.

Can a chairman fire a CEO?

Since a CEO is answerable to the Chairman, he can fire a CEO.

Who does Executive Chairman report?

The Executive Chairman reports to the Board of Directors of the company.