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Mark Zuckerberg, Mary Barra, and Elon Musk – some of the world’s most famous business people are CEOs of their companies. But what is a CEO and what are their responsibilities?
Read on for everything you need to know about CEOs, from where they fit in the company hierarchy to how to become one.
CEO is a shortened way of saying Chief Executive Officer – the head of an organisation.
Sometimes CEO stands for other job roles such as Chief Education Officer or Chief Engagement Officer, but generally it refers to the most senior executive in a company.
The CEO is usually a company’s highest-ranking member of the board. If the business has a Chairperson (representing the board), the CEO will report to them.
Although the CEO is not necessarily the owner of the business, they’ll have a high level of responsibility but also a high level of influence on the company and its workforce.
CEOs get support from other board members, as well as senior management executives such as a Company Secretary, Chief Operating Officer, or Chief Financial Officer.
The ultimate goal for most CEOs is to make sure the business is running smoothly, while also helping it to become more successful.
If you’re a CEO of a business, your responsibilities will vary depending on the size of the company and the business sector it operates in.
However, the vast majority of CEOs will be responsible for leading the company, making business-critical decisions, and overseeing day-to-day operations.
Here’s an overview of some of the key responsibilities undertaken by CEOs in the UK:
Here at Simply Business, our UK CEO is Alan Thomas. He joined the business in 2016, with over 20 years’ experience in the insurance industry.
Alan’s role as UK CEO means he’s responsible for overseeing the growth and culture of our UK business – keeping us aligned to our long-term vision and strategic priorities.
We believe that no two people – or customers – are the same, and Alan’s role is to make sure our culture, proposition, and values reflect this.
Central to this is a belief in our unique values, and an emphasis on enabling the big dreams of our customers and people.
The job roles CEO and Managing Director are often used interchangeably, but there are some key differences.
Here’s an overview:
If you own a small business, you may prefer to be known as the Owner rather than the CEO.
However, if your business starts to grow, it could be beneficial to move to a conventional company hierarchy with a CEO and senior management. This could help to improve structure and increase accountability.
If you own a small business, there’s nothing to stop you being the CEO. However, it’s important that you show the following skills:
Becoming a successful CEO can take years of practice and it’s useful to have experience in different areas of business.
If you want to improve your senior leadership skills you could take a course, such as the University of Oxford’s Executive Leadership Programme or the Happy Workplace CEO and Senior Leadership Programme.
Meanwhile, you can apply for the government's Help to Grow scheme. It offers small business owners the chance to improve their management and strategic skills during a 12-week course.
The average annual CEO salary is £55,000 for a starter, rising to £150,000 for an experienced CEO, according to the government’s National Careers Service.
How much a CEO earns depends on the size and success of the business they’re working for.
CEOs typically work 37 to 48 hours a week and are often required to work evenings and weekends to attend meetings or events.
Whether you’re known as the Owner, CEO, or Managing Director, if you run a small business you’ll need to do everything you can to make sure it runs smoothly.
With this in mind, here are some useful resources to help keep your business on track:
What are your top tips for being a successful CEO? Let us know in the comments below.
Photograph 1: Anatoliy/stock.adobe.com
Photograph 2: Atstock Productions/stock.adobe.com
Conor Shilling is a Copywriter at Simply Business with over two years’ experience in the insurance industry. A trained journalist, Conor has worked as a professional writer for 10 years. His previous experience includes writing for several leading online property trade publications. Conor specialises in the buy-to-let market, landlords, and small business finance.
We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer
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