Corporate Executive Hierarchy
Corporate Executive Hierarchy

The chief executive officer role is the highest-level C-suite role in a company and the highest paid. CEOs are responsible for maximizing business value by setting the vision, long-term goals, framework, and direction of the organization. Bizwomenreports on an early 2019 study that found a slight increase from the previous year in the number of women serving at the C-suite level, from 23% to 25%. The number of board seats held by women and minorities at Fortune 500 companies increased from 1,677 in 2016 to 1,929 in 2018, according to aDeloittereport. In a global, more diversified business marketplace, C-suite executives will increasingly reflect the demographics of their employees and customers.

But, the specifics of the role of a COO is highly dependent on the CEO and the requirements of the company. The CFO oversees the financial aspects of a company and so is responsible for all finance-related departments. Therefore, senior managers from finance, accounting, budget, and other finance-related departments will report to the CFO.

What is the difference between the CEO, CFO, and COO?

A CFO analyzes financial data, reports financial performance, prepares budgets, and monitors costs. CFOs of publicly traded companies must present financial information to boards of directors, shareholders, and regulatory agencies such as the Securities ceo coo cfo hierarchy and Exchange Commission. Treasurer – legally recognized corporate officer entrusted with the fiduciary responsibility of caring for company funds. Often this title is held concurrently with that of secretary in a dual role called secretary-treasurer.

Their job is to make major corporate decisions, with the help of the board, and then execute them within the company. They are the liaison between the board’s stakeholders and the rest of the company and communicate the overall vision for the company. In small businesses, this might be the owner, or it could be an individual hired by the owner to enact their vision.

The CEO’s role is also to organise, direct and control the goals made and also to support the strategic planning. To become a CEO or a COO one needs a Bachelor’s degree in business or related subject with significant experience. Directly under the CEO is the CFO and the COO, followed by the upper management team. Yes, the CEO is a higher managerial position than the CFO, and the CFO will report directly to the CEO. Acts as the liaison and builds relationships with financial institutions and private investors.

This creates new opportunities both to enter the C-suite and to advance within the C-suite. At the same time that the C-suite has been evolving to include more technology-related roles, the ranks of executives have become more demographically diverse. Chief marketing officer or CMO- In a corporate the person who handles the different marketing activities of the company at the executive level is known as the CMO. Is responsible for managing corporate reputation, contacting the media, and developing Branding strategies. His main function is to establish media relationships to guarantee brand awareness and positive imaging. With the rise of new communication channels such as social media, the role of the CCO is becoming important.

ceo coo cfo hierarchy

Today, many are large international conglomerates that trade publicly on one or many global exchanges. Its main objective is to rely on marketing and advertising strategies to generate higher income for the organization. And corresponds to the position of executive director of a company, or to the highest position within an organization. CEO, COO, CMO, CFO, CIO, CTO, CCO, and CDO refer to a number of senior positions and managerial functions in a company. There may be other chief officers’ positions in other industries as well.

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The COO is often viewed as the second-in-command, reporting directly to the CEO. In a small business, the COO is usually someone with direct experience in the field, who can understand an owner or CEO’s vision and turn it into practical, meaningful steps to take when launching the business. Prior to the creation of the group management board in 2006, HSBC's chairman essentially held the duties of a chief executive at an equivalent institution, while HSBC's chief executive served as the deputy. After the 2006 reorganization, the management cadre ran the business, while the chairman oversaw the controls of the business through compliance and audit and the direction of the business. Some states that do not employ the MBCA continue to require that certain offices be established. Under the law of Delaware, where most large US corporations are established, stock certificates must be signed by two officers with titles specified by law (e.g. a president and secretary or a president and treasurer).

Certain other prominent positions have emerged, some of which are sector-specific. For example, chief audit executive , chief procurement officer and chief risk officer positions are often found in many types of financial services companies. Technology companies of all sorts now tend to have a chief technology officer to manage technology development.

The day today management of organization is also carried out at this level. In British English, the title of managing director is generally synonymous with that of chief executive officer. State laws in the United States traditionally required certain positions to be created within every corporation, such as president, secretary and treasurer. A corporation often consists of different businesses, whose senior executives report directly to the CEO or COO, but that depends on the form of the business.

  • A CEO is responsible for maximizing the company’s value by setting long-term goals, a clear vision, and a direction in which the company will go.
  • The chief information officer is a newer role that focuses on the organization's information technology and integrated system strategies.
  • The first thing to do is to define these roles and how they relate to each other.
  • Analyze and propose to the CFO technological resources or solutions that help improve the productivity of the company in terms of production or management.

These 3 positions, along with others, form the top-most tier of leadership at any organization. They share certain aspects of their roles but the functional roles are very different. They can work with and report directly to managing directors and the chief executive officer.

Executive Officers

The CFO reports directly to the CEO and is responsible for analyzing financial data, preparing budgets, and monitoring expenses and costs. The CFO is required to report on the company's financial performance to the CEO and board of directors at regular intervals. A CFO may also be referred to as a senior vice president of the company. In the C-suite, the most prominent positions are the CEO, COO, and CFO – the chief executive officer, the chief operations officer, and the chief financial officer.

ceo coo cfo hierarchy

The CEO expects the procurement function to achieve sustained cost-reduction, drive supplier innovation, and effectively mitigate risk. When a procurement leader reports directly to the CEO, they can expect an increased focus on meeting overall long-term business goals and risk mitigation. Some aspiring leaders move up through the ranks of organizations, acquiring the experience, skills, and knowledge to take on C-suite positions along the way. Others may take a less conventional path and reach the C-suite by starting a business and guiding its growth. CFOs, especially private equity CFOs, usually hold at least a bachelor’s degree in finance or accounting.


While this is not in their control, they are required to predict and prepare for economy related challenges. This requires them to be well-versed with trends and ups and downs in the market and the economy. CEOs are faced with all the tough decisions to be made in an organization. There is a tremendous amount of pressure on a CEO to take the difficult call, make the right decisions, be the leader the company needs, and take the company to success. But they also face the added pressure of being compared to their predecessor.

International Business Hierarchy

The COO, or Chief Operations Officer, oversees the day-to-day administrative and operational functions of a company and also reports to the CEO. The board of directors is made of managers chosen from within the company and external representatives that are independent of the company. The members of the board are generally elected by the shareholders and their duties are to monitor the company's management team and ensure the shareholders' interests are being served.

At the top of the hierarchy is a collection of shareholders and senior officers who make decisions on big-picture corporate direction and management strategy. For a small business without public shares, this collective might be the people who helped fund the initiative, the owner and the top executives. Chairman of the board – presiding officer of the corporate board of directors. The chairman influences the board of directors, which in turn elects and removes the officers of a corporation and oversees the human, financial, environmental and technical operations of a corporation.

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